Opinion: A stance worthy of a state in world’s spotlight


With Georgia in the global spotlight, we’re heartened to see Gov. Brian Kemp moving even more firmly onto the right side of history. The latest step came recently during a routine press conference that quickly became extraordinary, given the clear truths expressed by the governor.

The conservative Republican said he would not go along with the haphazard efforts now underway in Georgia intended to short-circuit both due process and common sense by thwarting Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis’ prosecution of former President Donald Trump and 18 other defendants.

“The bottom line is that in the state of Georgia, as long as I’m governor we’re going to follow the law and the constitution regardless of who it helps or harms politically,” Kemp said in response to a question by The AJC’s Greg Bluestein. “Over the last few years, some inside and outside of this building may have forgotten that, but I can assure you I have not.”

While the governor said he believes the “highly charged indictments” provide “easy pickings for those who see the district attorney’s action as about politics,” Kemp finished that thought with this: “Up to this point, I have not seen any evidence that DA Willis’s actions or lack thereof warrant action by the prosecuting attorney oversight commission.”

That’s strong, and straight, talk from the governor – especially given he was a key advocate for creating the new commission that gives the state greatly expanded power to rein in prosecutors whose actions they oppose.

Kemp is right in this instance. And his comments continue the proper stance by him and other top state elected officials – all Republicans – who’ve bravely refused to nullify the will of Georgia voters in the 2020 presidential election.

They’ve refused to go along with the seductive falsehood that an election victory was somehow stolen from Trump. Multiple vote recounts and legal actions decisively prove otherwise.

Continuing to stand for what is right in the face of a widespread and long-running – yet unwarranted -- belief in rampant election fraud takes courage.

And we thank Gov. Kemp and others for that. This Editorial Board has taken issue in the past with some of Kemp’s other actions, but on this point – as we’ve said before – he and others, such as Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, have been right all along.

Their firmness stands in the starkest of contrast to the antics of other elected officials in Georgia.

Just one example: Colton Moore, a backbencher in the Georgia Senate, has distinguished himself in a bad way by his strident calls for an “emergency” legislative session intended to punish Willis.

Kemp was right to smack down that politically motivated idea.

Worse yet, Moore of late has said that “civil war” could result from lawmakers’ supposed reluctance toward getting what he considers justice for Trump and the others indicted. He’s warned that he doesn’t want to “have to draw my rifle.”

Even in this addled age where verbal hissy fits worthy of “reality” TV pass as normal speech, this is dangerous, inflammatory rhetoric that shows a profound ignorance of history. We’d suggest that Moore read what happened the last time the South turned violently against a rightful cause.

We join right-thinking Georgians of goodwill in being grateful that, for every rabble-rouser at the Gold Dome or in Congress who’re looking to riskily exploit a volatile time in a divided land, there are other leaders with the fortitude and wisdom to take the long – and proper – view.

They include people like Georgia House Speaker Jon Burns, who wrote a letter to members seeking to de-fang efforts by some Republicans to defund Willis’ office.

“Targeting one specific DA in this manner certainly (flouts) the idea of separation of powers, if not outright violates it,” he wrote.

Burns is correct, as are Kemp, Raffensperger and others. May they keep fighting the good fight as long as is necessary.

Georgia needs more public servants like them who are willing to back what’s right and shield our independent justice system from improper interference.

The Editorial Board.