This year, the Georgia General Assembly passed legislation (House Bill 808 and House Resolution 1113) that would dismantle the current Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC) and remake it in a manner that would weaken its authority if passed. Part of this change requires an amendment to the Georgia Constitution. Voters across Georgia will have a chance to voice their opinion against this destructive measure when they visit the ballot box this November.
What is at stake?
The proposed amendment, to be voted on by Georgians on November 8, 2016, totally removes the independence of the JQC. Instead, it gives all the power of judicial oversight to the elected members of the Georgia General Assembly. If the amendment passes, it will negatively impact thousands of people who appear Georgia’s courts.
What does the amendment say?
Amendment 3 on the November 8 ballot was written in an intentionally misleading way to confuse voters who believe in a fair, accountable, transparent justice system. Here is the language that voters will read in November:
Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to abolish the existing Judicial Qualifications Commission; require the General Assembly to create and provide by general law for the composition, manner of appointment, and governance of a new Judicial Qualifications Commission, with such commission having the power to discipline, remove, and cause involuntary retirement of judges; require the Judicial Qualifications Commission to have procedures that provide for due process of law and review by the Supreme Court of its advisory opinions; and allow the Judicial Qualifications Commission to be open to the public in some manner?
( ) YES
( ) NO
Again, this language is misleading. If this amendment is approved by voters, Georgia will have less oversight of and accountability for judges who abuse their power. We must preserve the independence and integrity of the JQC.
VOTE NO ON AMENDMENT 3 on November 8! Hands off the JQC!