Georgia Republicans Had This Fani Willis Revenge Plan In The Works For Two Years

This is your TPM evening briefing.
ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 18: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at an event hosted by Conservative radio host Erick Erickson on August 18, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. The first debate of the Republican Presidential pri... ATLANTA, GEORGIA - AUGUST 18: Republican Gov. Brian Kemp speaks at an event hosted by Conservative radio host Erick Erickson on August 18, 2023 in Atlanta, Georgia. The first debate of the Republican Presidential primary is set to take place August 23, 2023. (Photo by Megan Varner/Getty Images) MORE LESS
Start your day with TPM.
Sign up for the Morning Memo newsletter

The Associated Press published a story last night headlined: Kemp signs Georgia law reviving prosecutor sanctions panel. Democrats fear it’s aimed at Fani Willis. The piece announces the news that Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R) signed a new law Wednesday that will allow the state’s Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission to begin disciplining and even ousting local prosecutors it deems to have gone “rogue.”

The bill creating the state-run board with authority to investigate and remove local district attorneys was signed into law last spring and was set to begin reviewing cases in October, but its operations have been on hold since November when the state Supreme Court refused to uphold rules regarding its regulation abilities.

While it hasn’t yet reviewed any actual cases, one of the first complaints filed with the new commission was against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis. Eight Georgia Senate Republicans filed the complaint with the Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission mere weeks after Willis’ office indicted Donald Trump and 18 allies on state racketeering charges, among other things.

The law Kemp signed yesterday will make it so the state Supreme Court does not have to sign off on the commission’s rules of governance in order to function, meaning it can begin operating as intended — to “ensure rogue and incompetent prosecutors are held accountable if they refuse to uphold the law,” Kemp said at the signing Wednesday. That’s the official line on the state-run board. But it’s been designed to serve as a defense mechanism for Trump since the start.

Kemp and Georgia Republicans began pushing the initiative back in 2022 when other Republican governors were looking for ways to enact control over district attorneys whose enforcement they didn’t like. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) was one of the primary ones pushing this at the time as he went after a local DA who said he wouldn’t prosecute people seeking abortions.

But the long game was clear from the start, which is why the AP’s headline on Democratic concern for Willis was so striking to me. Before Willis brought any charges against Trump or his allies and before the defendants in that case dragged her through hours of testimony on a romantic relationship she had with one of the prosecutors on the Trump case, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) made it clear that the bill to create the commission was being introduced as a proactive retribution plan in the event that Willis brought charges against Trump. I unpacked that more here.

As the AP notes, the new measure will likely face its own set of legal challenges before the commission can take up Georgia Republicans’ complaint against Willis — but it’s one thing to have on your radar as we await final word on the disqualification decision from Superior Court Judge Scott McAfee.

The Best Of TPM Today

Newly Produced Docs From Feds Threaten To Delay Trump Hush Money Trial

McConnell Leads Disgruntled Right-Wingers In Complaining About New Judge-Shopping Fix

New in TPM Cafe: The New New Right Is The Old New Right

Yesterday’s Most Read Story

Judicial Conference Takes Action On Judge-Shopping That Has Imbued Trump Appointees With Massive Power — Kate Riga

What We Are Reading

Voters don’t have a clue about how much worse Trump’s second term would be — The Philadelphia Inquirer

GOP nominee to run North Carolina public schools called for violence against Democrats, including executing Obama and Biden — CNN

Rep. Matt Gaetz subpoenaed in defamation suit by woman he allegedly had sex with as minor — ABC News

Latest Where Things Stand

Notable Replies

  1. verb
    FORMAL
    3rd person present: deems

    1. regard or consider in a specified way.
      “the event was deemed a great success”

    It seems like there shouldn’t be a problem….
    image

  2. Georgia GOP going after a black woman. Thank heaven we are now a colorblind society.

    Bless their hearts.

  3. Isn’t the Willis DQ decision due tomorrow?

  4. If a bucket of sick could be a political party, it would be the GOP.

  5. The Civil War never ended.

Continue the discussion at forums.talkingpointsmemo.com

42 more replies

Participants

Avatar for discobot Avatar for lestatdelc Avatar for jcs Avatar for brainpicnic Avatar for mondfledermaus Avatar for eldonlazar Avatar for trnc Avatar for tigersharktoo Avatar for becca656 Avatar for DuckmanGR Avatar for afisher Avatar for dont Avatar for chelsea530 Avatar for mch Avatar for fiftygigs Avatar for jinnj Avatar for presidentlindsay Avatar for coimmigrant Avatar for demosthenes59 Avatar for txlawyer Avatar for philmore Avatar for rascal_crone Avatar for garrybee Avatar for old_guru

Continue Discussion
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Publisher:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: