Donald Trump believes Georgia is the epicenter of his presidential election loss. The twice impeached president has spewed riot-inducing rhetoric, lambasted Republican Governor Brian Kemp, and pressured Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find votes” so he could win the state.
These indiscretions were enough for Fulton County District Attorney Fani Willis to start an investigation into Trump. But less than a week after Willis started her probe, Georgia’s GOP are attempting to change the law to protect Trump from prosecution.
Georgia state Republicans introduced a resolution Thursday that seeks to change the Georgia State Constitution to mandate the use of state-wide grand juries in prosecutions involving election crimes.
The move would force prosecutors to draw more grand jurors from predominantly Republican rural areas of the state. The change, if adopted, could create a significant hurdle for any case brought by Willis, who would normally bring the results of a criminal investigation before a Fulton County grand jury.
Using state-wide grand juries instead of county-wide ones would likely dilute the representation of Black residents on the panel. Fulton County is the largest county in Georgia, with a population of 1,036,200; it also has the largest number of Black residents, 43.6%, by contrast, Georgia as a whole has a Black population of 32.6%. According to Georgia State University College of Law Professor Anthony Michael Kreis:
This is an attack on Black political power. If folks engage in election misconduct in Fulton County, then they should face jurors who look like members of the community in Fulton County subject to the discretion of decisions by elected officials empowered by Fulton voters.
This measure is unlikely to secure the supermajority requirement for state constitutional amendments and would still require voter ratification even if it garnered the requisite number of votes in the General Assembly. Twenty-five Georgia Senate Republicans co-sponsored the proposal for the Amendment.
Georgia’s 56-member Senate currently has a Republican majority of 34 to 22. Amending the state’s constitution would require a two-thirds vote of the Senate, which would necessitate the vote of at least four Democrats before heading for ratification from voters.
This doomed bill is an offer of fealty to Trump. The Georgia GOP is attempting to show the disgraced president they have his support.
As many in the GOP have realized, a losing effort in the name of Trump can still garner his favor if it is grandiose. As with the impeachment, many in the GOP believe Trump to be guilty, but if they can have him acquitted based on a technicality, then that is a win.