In March, just days after Mauldin retired, Gonzalez attempted to qualify to run for his vacant post. Her request was denied by the secretary of state’s office, citing the 2018 law.
After the six-month marker was passed in May, Gonzalez sued the governor and secretary of state, alleging that the 2018 law was unconstitutional.
She also requested a federal injunction that would require the Nov. 3 special election to move forward, which was granted. Kemp and fellow Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger appealed to the 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals which certified the case to the state Supreme Court.
In a decision written by Chief Justice Harold Melton, the court ruled that the 2018 law cited by Kemp and Raffensperger was unconstitutional. Melton quoted the lower court in the decision, which wrote, “It is fundamentally unfair and constitutionally impermissible for public officials to disenfranchise voters in violation of state law so that they may fill the seats of government through the power of appointment.”