Senator Mitch Seabaugh is proposing a constitutional amendment that would change the way we vote for the members of the Georgia Supreme Court:
Sen. Mitch Seabaugh (R-Sharpsburg) on Wednesday filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would get rid of statewide elections for supreme court justices. Instead, voters in each of the state’s 13 Congressional districts would vote for a single justice who lives within that district. The same would be true for the state Court of Appeals.
Seabaugh said he believes that districtwide elections would allow Georgia voters to get to know the candidates seeking a seat on the state’s highest court. He said he thinks voters would become more engaged in judicial elections, which until recently drew very little attention or turnout. Seabaugh also said that districtwide elections might reduce the political bitterness that has characterized several recent Supreme Court judicial races.
“There’s a much better chance of voters getting to know who they’re going to vote for and not just having to rely on negative mailings and political ads,” Seabaugh said.
E.R. Lanier, a law professor at Georgia State University, disagrees. He said he believes that Senate Resolution 370, if approved, could lead to an increase in the political rancor of judicial elections.
“Sure, the idea of districts would give smaller constituent groups more say in judicial elections,” Lanier said. “But since 1835, the safest, most sure way has been statewide elections.”
It’s a slightly better idea than the FDR-esque court packing scheme that had been floated, but why try to fix an electoral process that isn’t broken?