Georgia governor signs legislation that could block local attorney’s investigation

On Friday, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp signed legislation giving Republicans the power to effectively interfere in state investigations if they don’t like the prosecutor leading them.

Senate Bill 92 establishes an oversight panel, appointed by the governor and other state officials, with the power to remove or impede the work of prosecutors that the panel deems incapable of doing the work they expect of those prosecutors.

In a press release, the Georgia governor claimed the bill was intended to target “unscrupulous or incompetent prosecutors who refuse to uphold the law.” And he claimed the new board will hold “prosecutors driven by no-touch politics” accountable.

The question is, with whom “no contact”?

The board will effectively have the power to remove elected prosecutors or attorney generals, even if it is against the will of the electorate.

But the move is in line with efforts by conservative federal and state lawmakers to obstruct prosecutors — mostly black prosecutors — targeting individuals Republicans don’t want to attack. This right-wing nationwide crusade against law enforcement aligns with former President Donald Trump’s attacks on prosecutors who have been investigating him, including prosecutors in New York, Georgia and Washington, DC

In March, the National Black Prosecutors Association condemned these attacks in an exclusive statement to The ReidOut Blog.

Republicans, for example, have denounced the numerous criminal investigations against Trump, including Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ investigation into Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 Georgia presidential election. Although the district attorney has made it clear she believes the bill is racist and a clear attempt to retaliate against her.

At the same time, the GOP has targeted Willis and other prosecutors with baseless allegations that they are ignoring dangerous crimes in order to continue Trump’s investigation. And the former president has openly supported those efforts to pass legislation that could potentially disrupt Willis’ investigations into him. (Imagine that.)

The Republican effort speaks to a circumstance that many black trial attorneys have endured for centuries as white lawmakers seek to undermine their intelligence or effectiveness by stripping them of their power.

Sure, Kemp technically signed new law into law on Friday. But it rests on an old and bigoted foundation.