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A candidate for a Georgia court position has filed a lawsuit to prevent ethics regulations from restricting his ability to campaign on abortion issues

John Barrow speaks to the group (Via Mason Starc/Shutterstock)

A former Democratic congressman running for Georgia State Supreme Court filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, alleging that a state agency is trying to prevent him from discussing abortion, which he argues is unconstitutional.

John Barrow initiated the lawsuit just before a deadline to respond to a complaint accusing him of violating state judicial ethics. The complaint insists that Barrow must bring his campaign advertisements in line with state regulations.

One rule cited in the complaint from the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission prohibits candidates from making commitments on how they would rule on issues likely to appear before the high court.

Early voting is currently underway for the nonpartisan election on May 21, where Barrow is challenging Justice Andrew Pinson, appointed to the court in 2022 by Republican Governor Brian Kemp. In Georgia, incumbent justices rarely lose or face significant competition, and three other justices seeking new terms are running unopposed.

Recognizing the tough campaign ahead, Barrow has centered his candidacy around abortion rights. He asserts that Georgia’s state constitution guarantees a right to abortion as robust as what Roe v. Wade provided before its 2022 reversal. This reversal paved the way for a Georgia law from 2019 that bans most abortions after detection of fetal cardiac activity, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy — before many women realize they are pregnant.

Justice Andrew (Via Mason Starc/Shutterstock)

A legal challenge to Georgia’s law is pending in a lower state court and may eventually reach the state Supreme Court. Barrow points out that Pinson, as Georgia’s former solicitor general, played a significant role in the state’s support for the Mississippi case leading to Roe v. Wade’s overturning by the U.S. Supreme Court.

A former Democratic congressman running for Georgia State Supreme Court filed a federal lawsuit on Monday, alleging that a state agency is trying to prevent him from discussing abortion, which he argues is unconstitutional.

John Barrow initiated the lawsuit just before a deadline to respond to a complaint accusing him of violating state judicial ethics. The complaint insists that Barrow must bring his campaign advertisements in line with state regulations.

One rule cited in the complaint from the Georgia Judicial Qualifications Commission prohibits candidates from making commitments on how they would rule on issues likely to appear before the high court.

Early voting is currently underway for the nonpartisan election on May 21, where Barrow is challenging Justice Andrew Pinson, appointed to the court in 2022 by Republican Governor Brian Kemp. In Georgia, incumbent justices rarely lose or face significant competition, and three other justices seeking new terms are running unopposed.

Recognizing the tough campaign ahead, Barrow has centered his candidacy around abortion rights. He asserts that Georgia’s state constitution guarantees a right to abortion as robust as what Roe v. Wade provided before its 2022 reversal. This reversal paved the way for a Georgia law from 2019 that bans most abortions after detection of fetal cardiac activity, typically around the sixth week of pregnancy — before many women realize they are pregnant.

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