CA #2 — Urging a NO vote
Creates a state-wide business court to lower costs,
enhance efficiency, and promote predictable judicial outcomes.
Constitutional Amendment: HR-993 * HR-993-AP
Enabling Legislation: HB-185 * HB-185-SCS (Senate Committee Substitute)
Does the ballot question and measure name accurately and fully reflect the effect of passage without obfuscation?
No. Adoption would create concurrent jurisdiction in equity cases between publicly elected superior court judges, and the judges of the newly created business court who would be appointed by the Governor. The ballot question implies that these new courts would only sit on cases involving ‘certain complex business disputes’. In reality, these changes to the Constitution would permit the Governor appointed judges to consider any case of equity, whether or not they involved ‘complex business disputes’. Jurisdiction over a case might be transferred from superior court to the business courts by agreement of the parties; but no reciprocal provision exists to transfer a case in the other direction. Presumably a new case filed originally by a plaintiff in a business court would provide no mechanism for a defendant to transfer jurisdiction back before an elected judge.
Who would benefit from the proposed change?
Who supports the passage of this measure?
Who supports the defeat of this measure?
What is the Georgia Green Party’s recommended position?
The Georgia Green Party urges a NO vote on Constitutional Amendment #2.
The Senate Substitute to HB-185 outlines an office to conduct a study on the scope of jurisdiction for these proposed courts.
This enabling legislation intended to effectuate the creation of the business court system anticipated by the adoption of this amendment, died when the General Assembly adjourned in 2018, with HB-185 having been tabled in the Senate. Although adopted by the Georgia House on February 15th, 2017, the version which the House sent to the Senate was related to matters involving the Probate Courts. The bill number was picked up as a zombie, gutted, and substituted late in the 2018 session and recommended to the Senate by the Senate Judiciary Committee. Four days later, on March 27th of this year, the bill was tabled in the Senate, and later died with adjournment.
So the enabling legislation for this constitutional amendment was not adopted by the Senate, where it originated, and has never been considered by the Georgia House of Representatives.
At best, consideration of this proposal by the voters of Georgia is premature. As worst, it serves as an anti-democratic means for removing jurisdiction over a broad swatch of litigation from elected judges and assigning those cases to judges appointed by the Governor.