The Piedmont Chronicles
~ est. 2010 ~
- From the original 1777 document. Do you know the eight original counties?
Article IV. The representation shall be divided in the following manner: ten members from each county, as is hereinafter directed, except the county of Liberty, which contains three parishes, and that shall be allowed fourteen.
The ceded lands north of Ogechee shall be one county, and known by the name of Wilkes.
The Parish of Saint Paul shall be another county, and known by the name of Richmond.
The Parish of Saint George shall be another county, and known by the name of Burke.
The Parish of Saint Matthew, and the upper part of Saint Philip, above Canouchee, shall be another county, and known by the name of Effingham.
The Parish of Christ Church, and the lower part of Saint Philip, below Canouchee, shall be another county, and known by the name of Chatham.
The Parishes of Saint John, Saint Andrew, and Saint James shall be another county, and known by the name of Liberty.
The Parishes of Saint David and Saint Patrick shall be another county, and known by the name of Glynn.
The Parishes of Saint Thomas and Saint Mary shall be another county, and known by the name of Camden.
The port and town of Savannah shall be allowed four members to represent their trade.
The port and town of Sunbury shall be allowed two members to represent their trade.
Article V. The two counties of Glynn and Camden shall have one representative each, and also they, and all other counties that may hereafter be laid out by the house of assembly, shall be under the following regulations, viz: at their first institution each county shall have one member, provided the inhabitants of the aid county shall have ten electors; and if thirty, they shall have two, if forty, three; if fifty, four; if eighty, six; if a hundred and upward, ten; at which time two executive councillors shall be chosen from them, as is directed for the other counties.
- Also from the 1777 document:
Article LXII. No clergyman of any denomination shall be allowed a seat in the legislature.
- The very beginning of the 1945 Constitution:
To perpetuate the principles of free government, insure justice to all, preserve peace, promote the interest and happiness of the citizens, and transmit to posterity the enjoyment of liberty, we, the people of Georgia, relying upon the protection and guidance of Almighty God, do ordain and establish this Constitution.
BILL OF RIGHTS.
Paragraph I. Origin and Foundation of Government. All government, of right, originates with the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole. Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people, and at all times, amenable to them.
Paragraph II. Protection the Duty of Government. Protection to person and property is the paramount duty of government, and shall be impartial and complete.
Paragraph III. Life, Liberty, and Property. No person shall be deprived of life, liberty, or property, except by due process of law.
- Interesting, and relatively unknown, parts of the 1976 edition:
Paragraph I. Organization of Militia. A well regulated militia being essential to the peace and security of the State, the General Assembly shall have authority to provide by law how the militia of this State shall be organized, officered, trained, armed and equipped; and of whom it shall consist.
Paragraph II. Volunteers. The General Assembly shall have power to authorize the formation of volunteer companies, and to provide for their organization into
battalions, regiments, brigades, divisions, and corps, with such restrictions as may be prescribed by law, and shall have authority to arm and equip the same.
Paragraph III. Pay of Militia and Volunteers. The officers and men of the militia and volunteer forces shall not be entitled to receive any pay, rations, or emoluments, when not in active service by authority of the State.
Paragraph IV. Discipline of the Militia. When not in Federal service the discipline of members of the Militia shall be in accordance with the applicable provisions of the Constitution and laws of the United States, Acts of the General Assembly, and directives of the Governor in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Militia. Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Constitution, the General Assembly shall have the authority to provide for trial by courts-martial and non-judicial punishment of members of the Militia, for the initiation of charges and subsequent procedures thereon, rules of evidence, venue, and all other matters necessary and proper for the maintenance of a well regulated and disciplined Militia.
- and then also this in re the Judicial Branch. Also from 1976:
JUSTICES OF THE PEACE
Paragraph I. Number and Term of office. Unless it has been otherwise provided by the General Assembly, there shall be in each militia district one justice of the peace, whose official term, except when elected to fill an unexpired term, shall be for four years: Provided, however, that the General Assembly may, in its discretion, abolish justice courts and the office of justice of the peace and of notary public ex-officio justice of the peace in any city of this State having a population of over twenty thousand, and establish in lieu thereof such court or courts or system of courts as the General Assembly may, in its discretion, deem necessary, conferring upon such new court or courts or system of courts, when so established, the jurisdiction as to subject
matter now exercised by justice courts and by justices of the peace and notaries public ex-officio justices of the peace together with such additional jurisdiction, either as to amount or subject matter, as may be provided by law, whereof some other court has not exclusive jurisdiction under this Constitution; together with such provision as to rules and procedure in such courts, and as to new trials and the correction of errors in and by said courts, and with such further provision for the correction of errors by the Superior Court, or Court of Appeals, or the Supreme Court, as the General Assembly may, from time to time, in its discretion, provide or authorize. Any court so established shall not be subject to the rules of uniformity laid down in Paragraph I of Section IX of Article VI of the Constitution of Georgia: Provided, however, that the General Assembly may, in its discretion, abolish justice courts and the office of justice of the peace and notary public ex-officio justice of the peace in any county in this State having within its borders a city having a population of over twenty thousand, and as well in the County of Glynn, and establish in lieu thereof such court or courts or system of courts as the General Assembly may, in its discretion, deem necessary; or conferring upon existing courts, by extension of their jurisdiction as to subject matter now exercised by justice courts and by justices of the peace and notaries public ex-officio justices of the peace; together with such additional jurisdiction, either as to amount or to subject matter, as may be provided by law, whereof some other court has not exclusive jurisdiction under this Constitution; together also with such provisions as to rules and procedure in such courts and as to new trials and the correction of errors in and by said courts, and with such further provision for the correction of errors by the Superior Court or the Court of Appeals or the Supreme Court as the General Assembly may, from time to time, in its discretion, provide or authorize. The civil court of Fulton County shall have jurisdiction in Fulton County and outside the city limits of Atlanta either concurrently with, or supplemental to, or in lieu of justice courts, as may be now or hereafter provided by law. Any court so established shall not be subject to the rules of uniformity laid down in Paragraph I of Section IX of Article VI of the Constitution of Georgia.
Paragraph II. Jurisdiction. Justices of the peace shall have jurisdiction in all civil cases arising ex contractu and in cases of injury or damage to and conversion of personal property, when the principal sum does not exceed two hundred dollars, and shall sit monthly at fixed times and places but in all cases there may be an appeal to a jury in said court, or an appeal to the Superior Court under such regulations as may be prescribed by law.
Paragraph III. Elections and Commissions. Justices of the peace shall be elected by the legal voters in their respective districts, and shall be commissioned by the Governor. They shall be removable on conviction for malpractice in office.
SECTION VIII.The last time Georgia adopted a new constitution was 1983 in which they made an attempt at:
Paragraph I. Appointment; Number; Term; Removal. Commissioned notaries public, not to exceed one for each militia district, may be appointed by the judges of the superior courts in their respective circuits, upon recommendation of the grand juries of the several counties. They shall be commissioned by the Governor for the term of four years and shall be ex-officio justices of the peace, and shall be removable on conviction for malpractice in office.
"brevity, clarity, flexibility." The final product reflected this goal. The 1983 constitution was about half as long as the 1976 Constitution; it was better organized and used simple modern English in place of arcane and cumbersome terminology. It gave the General Assembly greater flexibility to deal by statute with many matters that had been covered in the constitution itself. The most significant change between the Constitutions of 1976 and 1983 was that the latter document prohibited the inclusion of any further constitutional amendments relating to only a particular city, county, or other local political subdivision.
The 1983 Constitution capped the number of counties Georgia could have at 159. For a new county to be created, it would require a constitutional amendment or a entirely new Constitution. It was also in this edition (1983) of the Georgia Constitution that Justices of the Peace were done away with, a move that decreased competition in the judicial system & has been thought by many as having an adverse effect on freedom & justice in our great state.
The 1983 Constitution was the first truly "new" constitution since 1877. It was the culmination of almost twenty years of discussion, debate, and compromise. A mixture of old and new, it contained provisions that first appeared in the Constitution of 1877 and also incorporated other provisions that had never existed before, such as the division of the courts into seven distinct classes, a requirement for uniform court rules and record-keeping rules by class for all classes of courts, the nonpartisan election of judges, and an equal protection clause. Like the nine constitutions preceding it, the Constitution of 1983 was, and is, a reflection of the state's rich political and social history.
Read more about the 10 Georgia Constitutions over the years at the New Georgia Encyclopedia.