VOTE NO TO Constitutional Amendment THREE
The Georgia General Assembly, apparently upset that one of its members had been removed as a judge by the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC), has decided that the JQC is corrupt and does not properly discipline the judges in this State. The Legislature’s solution for the problem they described is to allow the legislature to choose the members of the JQC. This allows politics to become the primary driving force behind the JQC.
As it is established, the JQC is a model that many other states have copied. It has successfully removed many judges through the years. It has punished many more for conduct it found improper. The current JQC comprises seven members, two sitting judges, selected by the Georgia Supreme Court, three lawyers who have been working for at least 10 years and who are elected by the State Bar of Georgia Board of Governors, and two citizens, neither of whom shall be members of the bar and who are appointed by the Governor.
Lawyers expect judges to maintain the integrity of the bench. It is the cornerstone of all justice. I expect it when I appear in Court. All other attorneys expect the same. All trial lawyers expect that judges will comply with all rules of behavior. It is the only way we have an orderly judiciary and judicial system. It guarantees that people appearing in court receive a just and proper hearing. All lawyers ask that the scales be balanced as their clients appear in court: nothing more and nothing less.
The JQC must remain free of political influence. Only if politics stays out of the business of disciplining judges will judges remain free to deliver decisions based only on the laws of the State of Georgia. I urge you to vote no to Amendment 3 on the November ballot.