Bipartisan group unites against GA Amendment 3

Bipartisan group unites against GA Amendment 3

COLUMBUS, GA (WTVM) - An amendment more important than your vote for presidential candidates is what a Georgia lawmaker and attorney are calling Amendment 3.

The amendment is on the ballot this election and concerns, in part, justice in the courtroom.

A bipartisan group encouraging people to vote NO made a stop in Columbus on Tuesday to explain why they say the independence of Georgia's court system is at stake.

"Should politicians be in charge of judicial ethics, and I think most folks would answer that, no," said Lester Tate, attorney and former Judicial Qualifications Commission chairman.

"The irony is, while lawyers and judges are probably the ones with the most opinions about this, the people that are going to be impacted are ordinary, every-day Georgians," said Georgia Senator Josh McKoon.

Currently, an independent commission regulates judges in the Peach State as indicated in the Georgia constitution. Since the committee's conception more than 40 years ago, it has removed more than 60 judges for misconduct.

"One judge who was texting with someone with whom they were having a romantic relationship, that was trying a case in front of them. We had another judge that was waving a gun around the courtroom. We've had judges that have made sexual advances on lawyers that have appeared in front of them," said Tate.

Proponents of the amendment want to abolish the current group that regulates judges, and instead have members appointed by General Assembly politicians.

It is something that those against the amendment says could pollute Georgia's judicial system.

"You go to court, you expect that that judge is going to treat you fairly. That he or she is going to apply the facts to the law and give you a reasonable decision. You don't expect, as we've seen with some of these judges, to have sexual favors demanded of you in order to get the results that you think is just," said McKoon.

"In terms of everyday Georgians, the vote on this could affect their lives a lot more than the one they cast for President of the United States," said Tate.

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