After Georgia prosecutor Fani Willis indicted former President Trump for trying to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in the state, Republicans said they will use a new law to remove her from office. In May, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp signed the law that created a new commission of political appointees with the power to remove and discipline elected prosecutors over decisions or policies not to prosecute certain offenses, according to The Intercept. The law seeks to limit or restrict reform-minded prosecutors. However, Republican lawmakers set their sights on Willis for another reason: prosecuting the wrong person. In a Facebook post, state Sen. Clint Dixon, a Republican, said Willis was indicting Trump because of an “unabashed goal to become some sort of leftist celebrity” and should be investigated for using the justice system against her political opponents. The Public Rights Project, a nonprofit that worked on a lawsuit by a bipartisan group of Georgia prosecutors against the bill earlier this month, filed a preliminary injunction against the commission on Thursday seeking to stop it from initiating any disciplinary or removal proceedings against a prosecutor while litigation over the law is pending.
The new Georgia law is one of close to 40 similar measures introduced in a third of the states since 2017 that target prosecutors implementing popular criminal justice reforms. The recent efforts to subvert the authority of elected prosecutors have been largely driven by white Republican lawmakers in gerrymandered states against Black Democrats in the liberal islands of cities, says Jill Habig of the Public Rights Project said. She said her group disagrees with the characterization of prosecutors targeted by the bill, and said the injunction to block Willis’s ouster was necessary to preserve the will of voters who elected prosecutors across the state. “Over a third of states have considered legislation to retaliate against local prosecutors for pursuing policies that they disagree with,” Habig said. “The original reasoning for the commission was to go after DAs who supposedly weren’t prosecuting enough,” said Habig. “It’s not only about not prosecuting enough, it’s also about prosecuting too much if the defendant is the wrong one from the perspective of the partisan officials who are creating and staffing this commission.” Last week, another Republican state lawmaker called for a special legislative session to investigate Willis, and others are drafting a statement to condemn her for indicting Trump, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.