“This is not a political grab for power,” Willard said. “The people who were being appointed … misused some of the powers given them. I, for one, thought there needed to be a reining in.”
In the past seven years, the JQC has removed or encouraged resignations from more than six dozen judges.
If the amendment passes on Nov. 8, the existing JQC will be abolished and a new one created mostly by legislative appointment; Senate confirmation is required for all appointments regardless of who makes them. Though the proposed amendment promises a more transparent JQC, the state law that lays out how the tiny agency will operate and its parameters makes its doings more secret.
One of the amendment’s House sponsors, state Rep. Johnnie Caldwell Jr., R-Thomaston, was himself a Superior Court judge the JQC forced from office because inappropriate sexual comments he made to female lawyers. In 2010, accompanying his hand-scrawled resignation from the bench, Caldwell wrote and signed a pledge that he would “never seek or accept judicial office again.”
He was elected to the state House two years later.
"These lawmakers must think the voters are stupid and I hope the voters will prove them wrong." said Bryan Long, executive director of Better Georgia.