Over the past decade, as I see it, our court has breathed life into some old words that have lain dormant within our Constitution for most of their century-old existence. The words are:
Public officers are the trustees and servants of the people and are at all times amenable to them.
We have established that this is no empty phrase, but an obligation that is enforceable in a court of law. Public men and women, above all others, must act in good faith. Neither facile excuse nor clever dissimulation can serve in the stead of duty — faithfully performed. Because public men and women are amenable "at all times" to the people, they must conduct the public's business out in the open.
Excerpt from the final opinion of Hon. Charles L. Weltner, Chief Justice, Georgia Supreme Court, attached to Davis v. City of Macon, 262 Ga. 407 (1992) (citations and footnotes omitted). Chief Justice Weltner was suffering from terminal cancer at the time he wrote the opinion, which began "[t]his is the last appeal in which I will participate as a member of the Supreme Court of Georgia." He passed away shortly thereafter.