A move to expand the Georgia Supreme Court

We're told that Gov. Nathan Deal is formulating a push in next year's session of the Legislature to increase Georgia's seven-member Supreme Court by two justices, which would greatly expand the governor's influence beyond his eight-year tenure.

This follows on the heels of an expansion of the Georgia Court of Appeals from 12 to 15. Those new judgeships are in the process of being filled.

When FDR tried adding to add more justices to the U.S. Supreme Court, during the Depression, it was considered "packing" -- an attempt to dilute the influence of justices already on the bench. And judicial opposition is entirely possible to this move by Deal.

We're told that two inducements are on the table: A new judicial building, and a promise to reduce the jurisdiction of the state Supreme Court. That latter offer might sound strange, but it would essentially reduce the workload of the current bench.

We called Deal's office, and were told that discussion of such things was premature, and would need to wait until a panel looking at changes to the judiciary finished its work in December.

About the Author

Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway
Jim Galloway is a three-decade veteran of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution who writes the Political Insider blog and column.
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