The Prosecuting Attorneys Qualifications Commission (PAQC), established under Senate Bill 92 and made law by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp in May, was the subject of the ruling on Wednesday.
Republicans’ efforts to use the newly established commission authority to remove state prosecutors against Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis have been thwarted by the Georgia Supreme Court’s refusal to accept it.
Fani Willis Receives Boost in Fight Against Donald Trump
Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the commission into law in May to dismiss local prosecutors who are “driven by out-of-touch politics” or unable to fulfil their “constitutional and statutory duties.”
The court reportedly stated in its decision, “We have grave doubts that we have the constitutional power to take any action on the draft standards and rules. But deciding the question of whether we actually have that power would require deciding difficult constitutional questions of first impression outside of the adversarial process.”
“If district attorneys exercise judicial power, our regulation of the exercise of that power may well be within our inherent power as the head of the Judicial Branch. But if district attorneys exercise only executive power, our regulation of the exercise of that power would likely be beyond the scope of our judicial power.”
As Willis pursues her extensive RICO lawsuit, Trump, the front-runner in the GOP presidential primary, has insulted her on multiple occasions. Trump has charged Willis with conducting a politically driven witch hunt in an attempt to keep him from being elected president the following year.
Sen. Clint Dixon of Georgia, a state senator, announced in August that the PAQC would investigate Willis’s 2020 election interference case due to her apparent partisan targeting of the former president. To thirteen felonies, former president Donald Trump has entered a not guilty plea.
To investigate Willis’s activities and maybe remove the DA elected in November 2020, a fellow Republican state senator, Colton Moore, requested an emergency session of the state legislature. Kemp denied this request.
The commission cannot start working since the Georgia Supreme Court rejected regulations that would have allowed the PAQC to dismiss state prosecutors. The court expressed doubts about the PAQC’s authority to examine these rules and refrained from making a ruling.
Republican state representative Houston Gaines stated that if Georgia lawmakers eliminate the need for the court to approve the regulation, the PAQC may start its task of punishing and potentially dismissing rogue prosecutors as early as January 2024.
Gaines told the Associated Press, “This commission has been years in the making—and now it has its appointees and rules and regulations ready to go.” “As soon as the legislature can address this final issue from the court, rogue prosecutors will be held accountable.”
Trying to overturn the law that removes local prosecutors, four district attorneys from Georgia filed a lawsuit claiming it violates United States and state constitutions.
In a statement, the Georgia Supreme Court’s decision was hailed as casting a “bright light on the fundamental failings” of Senate Bill 92 by DeKalb County District Attorney Sherry Boston, who is among those attempting to remove the commission.
Boston stated, “We are pleased the justices have taken action to stop this unconstitutional attack on the state’s prosecutors,”
Boston added, “While we celebrate this as a victory, we remain steadfast in our commitment to fight any future attempts to undermine the will of Georgia voters and the independence of the prosecutors who they choose to represent them.”
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