Kemp Investigating Qualifications of Georgia Court of Appeals Candidate

According to a post by Alyson Palmer at ATLAW Blog, the Secretary of State’s Office is picking up where Atlanta Lawyer Justin Chaney left off. A month ago, Mr. Chaney challenged Adrienne Hunter-Strothers’s candidacy arguing that she had not been a member of the State Bar of Georgia long enough to be a candidate for the Georgia Court of Appeals. Ms. Hunter-Strothers was admitted to the New York Bar in 2002 and to the Georgia Bar in 2005.

At issue is the language in Article VI, Section VII, Paragraph II (a) of the Georgia Constitution that provides, “[a]ppellate … judges shall have been admitted to practice law for seven years.”

Mr. Chaney’s challenge was initially dismissed because it was filed 100 minutes too late, but the Secretary of State is picking up the ball to contemplate running with it.

The controversy turns on an argument that “admitted to practice of law for seven years” includes, by implication, a requirement that the candidate be admitted to practice law in Georgia for seven years.

Stories like this are always interesting because one wonders what the back story is.

The other interesting part of this story is that there does not appear to be an issue. “Admitted to practice of law,” means what it says. From what I see on TV, there are lawyers outside Georgia. The candidate was admitted to practice law over seven years ago. The Constitution does not say admitted to practice law “in Georgia.” She appears to be otherwise qualified.

Unless the Secretary of State adds some language into the Constitution with a Sharpie, this one should be filed in the same category as the Obama is not a U.S. Citizen challenge that people keep forwarding to my email.

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