Much Belated Thoughts on Changes to Georgia’s JQC

I meant to write a post on this topic at the end of the legislative session. Very late in the game, the Georgia General Assembly radically changed Georgia’s Judicial Qualifications Commission, the ethics watchdog agency for Georgia judges. Shortly after these changes were made, the head of the JQC very publicly resigned.

I have mixed feelings about the changes. And, full disclosure, I was amicus counsel on a fairly public JQC matter last summer. At times, the JQC acted a bit heavy-handed in they way they dealt with some judges. And, as I’ve commented here in the past, the agency had a certain Star Chamber quality to it.

However, they did fine work over the years. And, as a result of their stronger years, there are whole circuits that are not only more pleasant places to be, the Georgia bench as a whole seems somehow more advanced than it was when I first started practicing. I hope that we are not returning to what the bench was like back in the early 2000’s.

And I wish that the solution had been something other than gutting it and politicizing its process. Ideally, its work would have been done more in the open. It remains to be seen where the JQC is headed. But I don’t think that matters look good.

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