Back in April, I wrote about the effort of James Hall to run for the Chatham County Elections Board, and how that effort was stymied by members of the sitting board. Unlike other counties in Georgia, Chatham County elects Democrat and Republican representatives to the Elections Board instead of appointing them.
After Hall qualified in March, his bid was challenged by someone who claimed that his then-current employment by the Savannah Police Department made him ineligible to serve, based on a 1984 special law that applies only to Chatham County. In a hearing in front of the Elections Board, the challenge was upheld. Hall appealed to the Chatham Superior Court, and lost. He has now filed an appeal with the Georgia Supreme Court. You can read the appeal here.
In the appeal, Hall’s lawyers, Josh Campbell and Josh McKoon, argue that during the hearing, Hall’s equal protection rights were violated. The appeal states, “Hall was ousted by the blunt force of a local political mafia of Republicans and Democrats whose exclusion of Hall served the respective political ends of each group. … Hall was trampled by an admittedly ‘partisan’ and ‘political’ stampede. Alas, ‘we are a nation of laws and not of men.'” The appeal also argues that the special law used to disqualify his bid is unconstitutionally vague, and that the Elections Board was arbitrarily deciding what it meant: “Hall was stripped of his rights by an ad hoc judicial guessing game.”
Campbell feels very good about Hall’s chances in front of the Supreme Court. He told Peach Pundit,
I would say that we feel very good about our chances on appeal because the law was so obviously ignored. In elections cases, one of the main criteria is that everyone is treated equally. Here, James Hall was treated differently and more unfairly than anyone whose election has been challenged. And the one law the Board used is one that has been eclipsed by laws written in the 90s and as early as 2010.
Hall had hoped to have his case resolved before the runoff election scheduled for next Tuesday. That’s unlikely to happen, and in any case, he could not be on the ballot since voting has already started. Campbell hopes to have a decision by early fall, but that isn’t guaranteed.