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October 17, 2016

Election 2016: Reform of Judicial Qualifications Commission

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Amendment 3: “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?

Amendment 3 is calling for the reform and re-establishment of the Judicial Qualifications Commission (JQC).  If the resolution is passed by voters, the new 7-member JQC would be reconstituted.  The Speaker of the House and the Senate President would each appoint one citizen representative.  Additionally, they would each appoint one member of the State Bar of Georgia, selected from a list provide by the Bar’s Board of Governors. Two judges would be appointed by the Georgia Supreme Court and the governor would appoint one member of the  Bar to serve as the JQC chairman.  All appointees would require confirmation by the State Senate.

The newly formed commission would have the power to discipline, remove and force judges to retire based upon their investigations into alleged misconduct.

The current commission was created 40 years ago and its members are appointed by the governor, the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Bar Association.

Senate Resolution HR1113

Implementing legislation HB808