New Ruling In Lawsuit Over Blackwell Supreme Court Seat/Election

Update: After talking to a few folks, what exactly was ruled here remains unclear, and the original headline that there was a ruling against the Secretary of State is probably overly broad. Because there is no decision published as of yet and no entry on the court’s docket, some speculation is in order to put the tweet below in context.

The best guess among those familiar with this case is that the ruling was against the Secretary of State’s motion for an expedited decision. It appears those deciding the case feel the gravity of the eventual decision doesn’t need to be rushed, as there is the possibility of a remedy of making the election for this seat a fall contest.

Again, all of that is speculation. We’ll sort it out in a follow up post when facts are readily available.

Original Post:

Georgia Supreme Court Justice Keith Blackwell has announced his intention to resign, but is still a member of the Supreme Court. He was up for election this year, but by announcing his intention to resign before the end of his term, one reading of law (and upheld by lower courts) is that the election for his seat is moved to 2022.

Former Congressman John Barrow and former State Representative Beth Beskin sued, claiming the election should be held as scheduled as Blackwell is still a member of the court as of the qualifying deadline. It appears the other members of the Court agree, per the AJC’s Bill Rankin.

We don’t have any more details at this point, but of note – Judicial races are decided on primary ballots. (They are non-partisan, and candidates appear on ballots of all parties and a non-partisan ballot is available if requested.)

Georgia’s primary is currently scheduled for May. Right now, the state is under a shelter in place order, and we’re not 100% sure if there’s a race for Georgia’s highest court, and if so, who those candidates will be.

Beth Beskin decided in the interim to qualify to run against sitting Justice Charlie Bethel. She remains a party to the lawsuit, and thus could presumably change races. And yes, Esther, we are sure it is Beskin.

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