Barrow’s appeal contends he should be able to run for Ga. Supreme Court

Former congressman John Barrow on Wednesday sought an expedited appeal in his bid for an open election for a seat on the Georgia Supreme Court.

Barrow asked the state Court of Appeals to consider the case on an emergency basis so the dispute can be settled before the May 19 election.

Early this month, both Barrow and Atlanta lawyer Beth Beskin sued Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger after he said they could not run for Justice Keith Blackwell's seat. Blackwell announced in February, shortly before the week of qualifying, that he would step down from the court on Nov. 18, six months after the judicial elections and just six weeks before his term expires.

On Monday, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Emily Richardson ruled against both Barrow and Beskin, finding Blackwell's seat officially became vacant when Gov. Brian Kemp accepted the justice's resignation. This also means Kemp would get to appoint Blackwell's successor.

Beskin said Wednesday she too will seek to overturn Richardson’s decision in the appeals court. After Raffensperger blocked the election for Blackwell’s seat, Beskin, a former state representative, qualified to challenge Supreme Court Justice Charles Bethel, who stands for election on May 19.

Under Georgia law, Beskin cannot be running for two different seats at the same time. So if she prevails in the Court of Appeals, she will then have to decide whether to continue her challenge against Bethel or enter the race to be Blackwell’s successor.

In Barrow’s appeal filed Wednesday, his lawyers said Richardson got it wrong and there should be an open election. As long as Blackwell “remains in office and exercises his power, as he has done and intends to do through and including Nov. 18, 2020, the office is occupied and there is no vacancy,” the appeal contends.

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