Former U.S. Rep. John Barrow slammed the Georgia Supreme Court for “slow-walking” a ruling on a lawsuit that will decide whether he can run for a seat vacated by Justice Keith Blackwell or whether that opening will be filled by Gov. Brian Kemp.
Barrow told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the state’s highest court needs to decide immediately whether the June 9 primary for the retiring justice’s seat can go forward, as he criticized the jurists he’s hoping to soon join on the bench.
“I’m calling on the Supreme Court to make its decision now. They’ve been sitting on this case for two weeks now. We’ve done what they ordered us to do, and they haven’t decided the case yet,” said Barrow. “A lot of people are concerned they’re slow-walking the case.”
The Georgia Supreme Court issued an order on April 3 saying it hasn’t published an immediate opinion because it “could provide adequate remedies” - without elaborating - if Barrow prevails.
The development came as several prominent organizations, including the Georgia chapter of the NAACP and the Fair Fight voting rights group founded by Stacey Abrams, filed a friend of the court briefing supporting Barrow’s stance.
Both Barrow and former state Rep. Beth Beskin filed a lawsuit weeks ago to force an election that allows voters to choose a successor to Blackwell, who announced in February that he is resigning from the court in November.
They're appealing a Fulton County judge's order that found Blackwell's seat officially became vacant when Kemp accepted Blackwell's resignation. The ruling found an election is unnecessary because Kemp gets to appoint Blackwell's successor.
The appeal has been pending for two weeks, though Barrow pointed out the court has more quickly decided on three other motions in the case. Every day the case is delayed, he said, erases another day from his potential campaign schedule.
“It’s making harder for someone to campaign if the entire election season is tied up in litigation,” he said, mentioning other judicial candidates who are raising money for their contests.
“Time’s a wastin’ and time is important,” he said. “If voters get the chance to vote, what’s an election without a campaign?”
Barrow, who lost his bid for secretary of state in a 2018 runoff, also took aim at the three justices who didn’t recuse themselves from the case, singling out Justice David Nahmias by name.
He said the veteran jurist, a former federal prosecutor before his court appointment, has a “reputation for dominating the court.”
“Any further delay can affect the outcome of this election just as much as canceling the election can,” said Barrow. “I think it’s time for the Supreme Court to act. They’ve had two weeks to think about it.”
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