Further Obfuscating Sunday Sales Vote, Noted Constitutional Scholars Seabaugh And Hill Question Legality Of All Georgia Alcohol Sales

I am always amazed when some insist on playing checkers when the world is playing chess.

On September 3rd, 2009,Senator Judson Hill rushed to all available microphones, flanked by fellow Senators including Mitch Seabaugh, to deploy a novel pre-emptive strike against Obama Care.  They asserted the en vogue 10th Amendment, and stated flatly that any attempt of the Federal Government to involve itself in medical delivery in Georgia was unconstitutional and would be stopped.

It was a strong bold move that seized the moment – until the first question was asked.

“So, you’re saying that Medicare will now be unconstitutional in Georgia?”

“Ummmm.  We’ll get back to you on that….”

Fast forward to 16 February 2011.  Senators are contorting themselves to figure out how to not go on the record over Sunday  Sales – again – and Senators Seabaugh and Hill are questioning Georgia’s Constitution in allowing for local referendums to regulate the sale of alcohol at the local level, which they questioned may be reserved as a State function. 

 Seabaugh’s comments are captured by Jason Pye here, and Judson Hill currently has the following on Facebook:

  • Determing(sic)the constituitionallity(sic) of any proposed bill including the current Sunday sales bill is important. Without first changing the State Constitution, it may be illegal to put such a referendum to the voters under GA Constitution Article III, Section 6 par. 7.

OK, so Senator Hill has either impressed himself with citing a code section, or he thinks that will dazzle us commoner/non-lawyers into submission.  “It’s too complicated.  There’s code and stuff.  I guess they can’t vote…”

Well, let’s just try to apply some logic to their logic.

If allowing local referendum on Sunday Sales is unconstitutional, then the local referendums that set the days, times, and places for all alcohol sales in Georgia are unconstitutional.  Thus, all current legal alcohol sales in Georgia are not legal, as the process from which they were authorized are unconstitutional, if you follow Seabaugh and Hill’s argument.

Seabaugh has now informed Jason Pye that he’s received his answer, and, amazingly, Georgia’s long time standing system of local referendum to regulate alcohol sales is in fact constitutional.  Hill has yet to update his facebook  to determine if local alcohol referendums (or medicare) are constitutional.  But, it’s another day wasted in the General Assembly that needs to be fixing real problems, with Senators instead re-creating their tortured annual update of kabuki theater.

So, indecisive Republicans in the Senate, please pat yourselves on the back.  If you thought trying to let the Freshmen handling this screwed things up a bit, you underestimated yourself.  Some of your more senior members continue to make the same rookie mistakes, well after they’ve earned veteran status.


  1. Jas says:

    Let’s just say that all local referenda for both on -premise and off-premise are in violation of the Constitution of Georgia. Hypothetically an enterprising lawyer files suit, judge agrees and throws all referenda based laws off the books and we’re back to Prohibition.

    If these guys think the outcry, emotionalism, and pressure here is bad, wait until they have to re-write a large portion of the alcohol code. It would be a circus.

  2. Harry says:

    Pass the popcorn. The liquor lobbyists gonna have to step up their game, they don’t get paid big bucks for sitting. Are some pundit front pagers getting any trickle-down? Maybe you should be.

    • -1. Please do not wish any “trickle-down” from the lobbyists on us. Ever.
      And PS: The liquor retailers do not want Sunday sales. It’s the grocery and convenience stores, who have to be open on Sunday anyway, and pay to run coolers full of beer and wine they can’t sell.

      • Harry says:

        Don’t kid yourself. The liquor industry is pushing hard for whatever additional profit they can squeeze out of selling their poison whenever and wherever and to whomever.

        • Charlie says:

          Harry, you do understand that revenue does not equal profit, don’t you?

          If you have to add an extra day’s expense for an incremental amount of revenue, the liquor stores are not likley to make additional profits.

          It’s grocery and convenience stores, already open 7 days, that want this bill. Liquor stores owners are happy with their current 6 day model, but wouldn’t want to remain closed on Sunday and give up beer/wine business to Publix/Kroger.

  3. States do have the ultimate authority to regulate the safety, welfare, and morals of their populations. Not the federal government which has specific powers, and not local governments which are just creatures of the state.

    • John Konop says:


      Now back to the real world. You understand if we ended Medicare, VA……the county hospitals would pick-up all the services locally? Who do you think would get stuck with the bill?

      We need real reform, but it must done by adults not politicians seeking headlines to fire up the base with ill thought out talking points.

        • John Konop says:


          Where is it written in the US or Georgia Constitution that we have to breathe clean air, drink clean water, take safe medicine….? You are not suggesting to let people just die on the streets? I am businessman that deals with the reality of the situation. Trust me even the majority of Tea Party members that get Medicare, VA…. would not support given it up? The real issue is we must figure out how to solve the problem. And that will take sacrifice by all.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          For that matter, where is it written that we need our morals regulated by the government? When we base legislative decisions on religion, we are no better than the Taliban.

          • KD_fiscal conservative says:

            “When we base legislative decisions on religion, we are no better than the Taliban.”

            EXACTLY, except not the “Taliban” per se, all of the middle eastern governments. Why do these theocrats want to set such a dangerous precedent in a country that prides itself on freedom.

          • John Konop says:


            The problem with Ayn Rand followers is the lack of any moral principals. The father of the free market system Adam Smith was also a moral philosopher as well as an economist.

            If you subtract any moral philosophical principals from our society it will fail. If I follow your logic we should have no laws at all. Life is about balance and fundamentalist of any stripes are the most dangerous.

            • Three Jack says:

              john, so you’re saying that anybody who accepts the fact that government cannot be all things to all people is lacking in ‘moral principals(sic)’? wow! have you even read ayn rand’s writings or do you just go by what the big nanny guests say on morning joe?

              the people suffering from moral deficiencies are those who expect me and other taxpayers to provide them with all the necessities of life. if you as an individual wish to redistribute your wealth to those less fortunate than yourself, then setup a 501c3 and do it.

              • Three Jack,

                Allow me to predict John’s response by picking from his signature lines:

                “I’m a businessman, I deal in reality.”

                “Why do you keep SPEWING HATE out of both sides of your mouth.”

                “Where are the adults in the room?”

                “You keep spewing these talking points without SOLUTIONS, what is your SOLUTION?”

                You see, Three Jack, this is John Konop’s M.O. Notice what is glaringly absent from his quotes: A suggested solution. He’ll constantly lecture you, me, Ayn Rand supporters, Libertarians, Tom Price supporters or anyone else about being an “adult” or “offering Solutions” or “spewing hate”. It’s like a broken record.

                Dare I say he is just spewing talking points with no SOLUTIONS? Where are his SOLUTIONS? Where are the adults in the room?

                • Three Jack says:

                  lol…spot on! but you left out a couple more of his std lines:

                  – “i’ll pray for you”

                  – “do you wear a white hood while writing…”

                    • Three Jack says:

                      i started to include that one, but he already used an adam smith reference in the original post….not to say he won’t come back with the usual adam smith wikipedia cut/paste excerpt.

                    • John Konop says:

                      The funny part is if you understood economics at all you would know mocking Adam Smith and his book Wealth of Nations via economics is like mocking the bible via Christianity. In fact his book Wealth of Nations is referred to as the “bible of economics”.

                      You two have always been good at letting what you feel about an issue, person….rule your ability to deal with the reality of the situation. Whatever gets your through the day.

                    • Three Jack says:

                      damn, we forgot the line about “you let feelings about an issue….”.

                      who mocked adam smith? we’re mocking you john.

                    • But John, we don’t understand economics at all. We want to sit here and spew talking points without SOLUTIONS. Where are our SOLUTIONS? That’s a good question. Maybe I’ll find them once I take my white robe off after I finish typing. EVERYONE KNOWS that Adam Smith is akin to Jesus and that Wealth of Nations=Holy Bible…but I still can’t find my SOLUTIONS because I’m SPEWING HATE

  4. sunkawakan says:

    The idiot tenthers forget that the last four words of the Tenth Amendment are “or to the people.” I’m all for extending their argument to the citizens of Georgia. If they don’t have the cojones to put up the Sunday sales for a vote, they prove that they are little more than capons.

  5. Charlie says:

    I just spoke with Senator Seabaugh, who does not feel like his quotes to the press are accuarately portraying the entire conversation he had. He states that he’s still for an up or down vote, and was not trying to attempt to use the Constitutionality question to delay. He reiterated that he’s also sought advice that determined the bill would be Constitutional.

    For my part, I’ve encouraged him to help the Senate understand that they need to take an up or down vote and move on. There’s entirely too much attention being paid to this bill that needs to be directed at the real problems of this state. On that point, we agreed.

    • B Balz says:

      Those holding the ‘scorecard’ feel that the right amount of attention is being paid to this matter. Says one Scorecard Holder, don’t look at what is in my other had, SR153.

  6. How about they just amend the stupid bill to limit holding votes on permitting Sunday sales to only those Counties with populations greater than, say, 500,000? That would be us godless, drunken heathens in Cobb, Gwinnett, Fulton and DeKalb, who are all taking high-speed rail straight to hell anyway.

  7. LoyaltyIsMyHonor says:

    Seriously? We’re debating Seabaugh and Judson Hill? Those two are the biggest tools in the Senate. Even their fellow Senators think so.

    How do these clowns keep getting re-elected?

  8. Three Jack says:

    as i sat in i75 traffic again this morning, a story about lobbyists spending $2000 to maintain an open bar for legislators came on the radio — http://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-politics-elections/lobbyists-supply-special-interest-842364.html

    so the liquor lobby that opposes sunday sales provides a condo for legislators to enjoy happy hour before they go to their nightly lobbyist paid for feast at the depot, capital grille or some other fine dining establishment. former legislator mccraken poston said, “The open bar, 24-7, has probably ruined the careers and livers of many,” —- haha, big funny there dude.

    traffic, water, education, taxation and economic development are the major issues facing georgia. after 8 years of some level of gop control, not one of these issues has been addressed properly. maybe they should open the condo bar to voters so that we can drown our sorrows as rome burns in front of us.

        • CobbGOPer says:

          Yeah, I asked David Shafer directly if he represents the people or the liquor store lobby. The response? “The bill is complicated.”

          No, it’s not Senator. But we all know your game. You don’t want to have to answer for a “yes” vote in rural Georgia should you decide to run for Lt. Gov. one day… And you know your own constituents would be quite critical should you vote against it.

          To think you are a Republican Liberty Caucus member. What a sham.

          • If this bill is complicated for Mr. Shafer, then I’d hate to think what happens when he has to deal with a *real* issue like transportation or education. I think it’s time for him to be replaced with someone who doesn’t think Sunday alcohol sales is so complicated.

          • Yeah, what a tool. “The bill is complicated.” Gotcha.

            However, completely reforming the way Representatives piece together a billion dollar plus state budget by introducing Zero Based Budgeting is…simple?

            Shafer just lost his last shred of credibility. And if the RLC wants to maintain any credibility, they’ll summarily recind his invitation to the caucus meetings.

  9. CobbGOPer says:

    As I said in another thread, this is all about the metro members of the caucus giving cover to their rural pals. Their boys in the sticks are crying about having to potentially face primary challenges from CC-backed social conservatives should they uphold their creed and support local control, and they don’t want to have to actually raise any money to get re-elected next year.

    • CobbGOPer says:

      The rural jokers know that, even if they vote against the bill in a full floor vote, the CC will hold it against them for allowing it to happen. Honestly, it’s the same for the metro jokers; CC will primary them too, and so many of these guys run unopposed nowadays that they’re used to skating by on the minimum of fundraising. Therefore, they keep coming up with excuses. For eight years it was “Sonny will veto it.” Now that Deal has publicly thrown the ball back in the Senate’s court, they’re scrambling for other excuses to kill it.

  10. HCL3 says:

    Any thoughts on how redistricting will affect this mess? Will we lose enough legislators from the Talibabtist parts of the state to matter?

  11. Harry says:

    You libertarians like to chew on something like the political inability to expand booze sales at the behest of the booze industry, in an already booze-saturated state and society which is already paying too high a price for the effects of alcohol toxicity. In regards to impinging on your “liberties” – on a scale of 1 (one) to 10 (ten) this “violation” is at best a 1 (one). Shouldn’t we be focusing higher up the scale? Why do I suspect there could be a couple of hidden agendas happening?
    1. A lame attempt to split the GAGOP.
    2. Some of you are closer to the liquor industry than you’d care to disclose.

    • HCL3 says:

      You’re right – the prohibition of sunday sales is not as much an infringement on individual liberty as say, the prohibition of gay marriage, the prohibition of gambling (outside of a state monopoly), and the war on drugs. However, we have to start somewhere and Sunday sales is the low hanging fruit.

    • So how high up on the scale does something have to be for us to fight for it? Should we really only concern ourselves with liberties that are in the 5+ range? Some of us look at it like this… if legislators won’t even give us this “no-brainer”, trivial little freedom, how likely are they to give us something a bit higher up in that 5+ range? Apparently our legislators aren’t very freedom minded at all when you look at it like that.

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        ‘this “violation” is at best a 1 (one). ”
        In that case, ALLOWING it should also be a one, but seems to be muucch higher then that considering the CC got their panties in a wad over it.

  12. Harry says:

    Some of us have valid experience and knowledge of the effects. We would like to see the use legally controlled and eventually eliminated. We’re control freaks, give it a rest.

    • HCL3 says:

      “eventually eliminated” – because alcohol prohibition worked out so well last time and drug prohibition is working out so well right now.

  13. bowersville says:

    Our state is in the middle of the greatest economic downturn since the Great Depression. We continue to face education, transportation and water woes.

    Yet what should have been a speed bump in the road has consumed the GA Senate. For what ever reason the SoCons apparently decided the issue of Sunday Sales was a hill worth dying on and for whatever reason the Senate fell apart.

    Someone mentioned that taking a course opposite of the viewpoints of PP comments put you in step with most Georgians, that a lame attempt to split the GOP was afoot(apparently later retracted). Now the first thing up on Galloway(AJC P/I) is a Senate bill giving Georgians the right to choose incandescent lighting over florescent.

    I’ll dare say PP is ahead of the political curve. Georgians won’t tolerate such foolishness long.

  14. Harry says:

    “Sunday sales is going to come up again, again, again and again. It’s not going away….it will have to be dealt with one way or the other.”

    No, the culture is coming to realize more and more that alcohol is harmful. Like tobacco, it’s not a growth industry. In both western and non-western countries, and for various reasons, alcohol is becoming less of a problem.

    • KD_fiscal conservative says:

      Harry, I have resisted replying to you for a while, but you really, really don’t get it. This is NOTHING to do with how dangerous alcohol, it about alcohol on SUNDAY. Just about all of the legislators(believe me on this), and even most of the reactionary, drinks. The debate isn’t even about the dangers of alcohol, I don’ know why you keep bringing it up.

      • Harry says:

        The debate is about whether or not dangerous chemicals should become even more available. Should you have the “freedom” to play Russian Roulette? I say no.

        • KD_fiscal conservative says:

          It doesn’t matter what you say, the Legislatures aren’t debating, or even thinking about that… I promise you that, talk to them if you don’t believe me.

          • Harry says:

            You’re probably correct that didn’t figure into the debate, but for me it’s the main issue – to what extent should citizens be protected from marketing tricks and expanded availability of harmful substances and, yes, from themselves. Does that put me on the same side with the preachers? Yes, maybe, but understand if it were up to me the preachers would be financially squeezed also. Let’s just say there are a lot of feeders out there.

            • HCL3 says:

              This has to be one of the most statist, paternalistic comments I’ve seen on PP.

              Harry – the government is not your mommy or your daddy and should have no ability to tell you what you can or can not do with your body, put in your body, etc.

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