By Dave Williams
Capitol Beat News Service
ATLANTA – With the June 9 primary elections looming, former U.S. Rep. John Barrow, whose sister Ruth Bracewell resides in Madison, Ga., is urging the Georgia Supreme Court to decide whether voters will get to choose a successor to retiring Justice Keith Blackwell.
Barrow and former state Rep. Beth Beskin signed up during the March qualifying period for the run for the seat.
But Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger canceled the election at the request of Gov. Brian Kemp and declared the governor gets to appoint Blackwell’s successor.
Barrow and Beskin sued the secretary of state late last month. A Fulton County court ruled against the plaintiffs two weeks ago, declaring Blackwell’s seat essentially is vacant now, giving Kemp the right to make the appointment. The decision has been appealed to the state Supreme Court.
Barrow is accusing the three Supreme Court justices who have declined to recuse themselves from the case of “slow-walking” a ruling that needs to made quickly in order to get the race on the June primary ballot. The justices who did recuse themselves are being replaced by substitute justices.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Court to announce its decision in this case now,” Barrow said. “We’ve done what the court has ordered us to do. It’s time for the court to do its job.”
Barrow has filed three motions since the Supreme Court agreed to take up the appeal, two to dismiss from the case Justice David Nahmias, one of the three justices refusing to recuse himself. The other motion was to expedite the case. All three motions were rejected.
“I’m concerned that Justice Nahmias may be trying to manipulate the substitute justices for the same reason Justice Blackwell and the governor have manipulated the timing of Justice Blackwell’s ‘retirement’ — to control the Georgia Supreme Court,” Barrow said.
Barrow, a Democrat, represented Georgia’s 12th Congressional District from 2005 through 2015. He ran for secretary of state two years ago, losing to Republican Raffensperger.
Responding to Barrow’s claims, Supreme Court spokeswoman Jane Hansen wrote in an email that the court’s quick, unanimous rulings against his three motions speak for themselves.