Discover more from Wonkette
Will Gov. Kemp Sign Georgia GOP's 'Racist' Bill Targeting Local Prosecutors? Uh, Yeah, Probably.
Maintaining proud racist tradition of suppressing minority political power.
The Republican-controlled Georgia General Assembly approved the creation of a "prosecuting attorneys oversight commission" this week. The commission would have the authority to review complaints against local prosecutors and issue punishments that could include removal from their elected office. The approval passed by a 92-77 vote, mostly along party lines, just like Georgia Republicans' earlier voter suppression legislation.
The next step in this obvious right-wing power grab is for newly re-elected Republican Gov. Brian Kemp to sign the bill into law.
So, we all know what's going on here: Republicans have gerrymandered themselves into power in the state legislature, but they resent that the more liberal residents of big cities elect officials who aren't right-wing hacks. This was a big issue during the COVID-19 pandemic when Kemp regularly fought local officials over sensible COVID-19 policies. We're not going to insult your intelligence by pointing out how Republicans used to go on about "local control." That was just their excuse to get their Jim Crow on without federal intervention.
Georgia Republicans are irritated that Athens-Clarke District Attorney Deborah Gonzalez said she wouldn't prioritize low-level marijuana possession charges, which is within her prosecutorial discretion. Republicans in general are annoyed that Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis might hold Donald Trump accountable for his blatant coup attempt in the state.
The district attorney is an elected position, and Gonzalez and Willis clearly represent the interests of the people who elected them. Republicans from outside the jurisdiction, likely responding a complaint from an aggrieved minority, want to overrule the will of the people whenever they see fit. While that's on brand for them, it's still alarming.
Defending the legislation, Republican state Rep. Joseph Gullett from Dallas said, "We have grounds for removal and it’s very narrow. If there’s a complaint there must be a sworn affidavit detailing personal knowledge of the facts supporting the complaint. If there’s disciplinary action, that can be appealed to the Superior Court of the county where the district attorney or solicitor general served.”
It's unclear how receptive the Fulton County Superior Court would be to an appeal from DA Willis.
Here's some relevant Fulton County history for you. After the Civil War ended, white Georgians resented newly freed Black people's growing political power in the area and rained violence on them. The number of lynchings steadily increased in the late 19th Century, as white conservatives reimposed and maintained white racial dominance through outright domestic terror.
White terrorists lynched 595 Black people in Georgia from 1877 to 1950. At least 35 were from Fulton County, and according to the Georgia Lynching Project, 25 of those were killed in 1906 alone, during the Atlanta Race Riot. The number might have been considerably higher.
Historians have stated that the stage production of Thomas Dixon's The Clansman: A Historical Romance of the Ku Klux Klan (yes, that was the title) might've sparked the flame in the Atlanta riot. Police and military were on high alert in Savannah, where the play opened, but white mobs still rampaged through Black communities. D.W. Griffith would later adapt The Clansman as the infamously racist Birth of a Nation .
The violence impacted black residential and business development in Atlanta, and by 1908, the Georgia legislature effectively disenfranchised Black Georgians with voter suppression laws that excluded Black people from the political system.
This bill is less bloody but it's nonetheless part of the same theme. White conservatives can't abide Black political power and seek to neutralize it.
Last week, during an interview with Rachel Maddow, Michael Moore, former US attorney for the Middle District of Georgia, didn't mince words about the new law: "I think we ought to just call it what it is. It's racist."
[ Georgia Recorder ]
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter if it still exists.
Catch SER on his new podcast, The Play Typer Guy.
Did you know SER has his own YouTube Channel? Well, now you do, so go subscribe right now!
Click the widget to keep your Wonkette ad-free and feisty.