Imagine being elected a Georgia Supreme Court Justice. You have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on your campaign and more than a year of your life running for election, only to have it all come crashing down. You’ve been informed that your win is now legally meaningless and void, even though you were chosen by the people. You are told that it is now an office that the current Governor gets to fill because the predecessor in the office to which you were just elected, intentionally chose to resign two months early. This political loophole and disenfranchisement of voters is now allowed in the State of Georgia by the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision in Barrow v. Raffensperger.
Georgia has always been a state that supports elections. We elect everyone under the sun – from Supreme Court Justices to County Coroners. In a highly contentious and publicized case, the Georgia Supreme Court in Barrow v. Raffensperger ultimately held that the Secretary of State is not legally mandated to hold an election for an office that will inevitably become vacated.
This Casenote will address the events that led to an expedited appeal to the Georgia Supreme Court along with an explanation of the peculiar makeup of the Georgia Supreme Court that heard and decided this case. Further, this Casenote will discuss and provide a background of the law establishing both the elections and appointments of Georgia Supreme Court Justices. In its final points, this Casenote will evaluate the court’s reasoning in this landmark decision and the implications that have already arisen as a result.
Ashley Mallon, Casenote, The Case of the Vanishing Supreme Court Contest: Barrow v. Raffensperger Eliminates the Power of the People to Elect their Appellate, Superior, and State Court Judges, 72 Mercer L. Rev. 957 (2021).