Lesser-Known Amendment on Georgia Ballot

On election day, Georgians will decide on a constitutional amendment about the state Supreme Court. But it's not getting much attention. Constitutional Amendment Number Two deals with the federal courts throughout country and their relationship with the Georgia Supreme Court.

It's a constitutional amendment which states, "to provide the Supreme Court jurisdiction to answer questions of law from federal courts."

The common reaction is to ask what that means. So we asked attorney and state representative Tom Bordeaux (D-Savannah).

"All it basically does is allow a federal district court to send a question to the Georgia Supreme Court as to what Georgia law is and allows the Georgia Supreme Court to answer that question," he explained.

Once again, you may ask whether that's important. Basically, it allows any federal district court in the country, like the one based in Savannah, to ask the Georgia Supreme Court for clarification on a law that may be causing some confusion during a case. Currently, only the federal Appellate Court can do that.

Bordeaux says it would help fix what he considers a deficiency in the court system. "One of the obvious benefits is that on a novel question concerning Georgia law, you will no longer have to wait until it gets to the appellate level of the federal system, which is what you have to do now," he said. "It will increase judicial economy."

Opponents to this amendment say it should not pass because these laws are for local judges to interpret.

Reported by: Kim Angelastro, kangelastro@wtoc.com