It has been decades since there has been a contested Georgia Supreme Court seat, but now there will be three candidates vying for a seat being vacated by Justice Robert Benham. Veteran attorney and former state Rep. Beth Beskin yesterday told InsiderAdvantage she would run against retiring Court of Appeals Judge Sara Doyle and former U.S. Rep. John Barrow.
“I am running to bring my experience in business and law to the Supreme Court and to defend our shared values of what makes Georgia such a great place to live, work, own or run a business and raise a family,” Beskin said in a media release. She currently serves on the Georgia Judicial Nominating Commission and former Gov. Nathan Deal appointed her as one of two liaisons to Atlanta Public Schools when it was put on accredited probation and she served in that capacity until APS regained its full accreditation status.
Beskin was elected as a representative for House District 54 (basically Atlanta’s Buckhead district) in the General Assembly from 2015 to 2019, and once served as chief deputy whip for the GOP caucus. She has served on the Georgia Commission on Child Support as well as on the Capitol Arts Standards Commission. A former geologist, as well as a former pension plan administrator, the new candidate and husband Dr. Jim Beskin, an orthopedic surgeon with Peachtree Orthopedics, are members of First Presbyterian Church of Atlanta.
Doyle was first elected to the appellate court in 2008 and later re-elected in 2014 backed by an odd liberal-conservative political coalition. At a June forum hosted by the Georgia Press Association, Doyle urged her audience of publishers, editors and other journalists to consider voting for her because she’s a female and that the high court could use another female. Doyle said she was disappointed that no other woman opted to offer for the judgeship so she decided to declare her candidacy, but she obviously hadn’t counted on Beskin.
Barrow reminded that same press conclave of his work as a U.S. congressman and declared that he views the U.S. Constitution (and presumably the Georgia Constitution) as “a living document” and that he “evolves” with the law. Barrow also said he doesn’t always agree with “judicial originalists” who believe in the text as originally written by the authors. When this writer asked Doyle if she agreed with Barrow’s “evolving” remarks, she declined to comment.
This officially non-partisan Supreme Court race will be decided on May 19, 2020 concurrent with statewide primaries.
By Phil Kent