Georgia's courts field big questions

Gov. Brian Kemp at an election night victory speech on Nov. 8, 2022. (Matthew Pearson/WABE)

It’s been a busy day in Georgia politics: a judge overturned the state’s six-week abortion ban; Governor Brian Kemp appeared before the Fulton County special grand jury investigating 2020 election interference; and Democratic U.S. Senator Raphael Warnock, along with several groups, filed suit to allow Saturday voting for the U.S. Senate runoff.

WABE politics reporter Rahul Bali joined “All Things Considered” host Jim Burress to talk about the latest developments in each of these situations.

Governor Kemp is that latest to reluctant witness to be forced to testify before the Fulton grand jury, after successfully having his appearance delayed until after the November 8 election.

Kemp was expected to be asked about efforts of then-President Trump and his allies to call into question and overturn President Joe Biden’s victory in Georgia.

That included Trump demanding Kemp call a special legislative session to possible replace Georgia’s Electoral College slate with electors for Trump.

Kemp is not accused of criminal activity.

Prosecutors are still pursuing the testimony of several people in Trump’s orbit, including U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows.

And the Warnock campaign is suing to allow a Saturday of early voting in Georgia’s Senate race runoffs because state law prevents Saturday voting in the days after a holiday.

The only Saturday in the early voting period comes two days after Thanksgiving.

Democratic Senator Raphael Warnock says voters should have the option to cast their ballots on that day.

The lawsuit was also filed by the Democratic Party of Georgia and the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is standing by his office’s interpretation of the law and said the Warnock campaign is essentially pressuring counties to ignore Georgia law.

Finally, Fulton County Superior Court Judge Robert McBurney ruled Georgia’s six-week abortion ban known as HB 481 can’t be enforced, saying parts of it were unconstitutional when it was created and enacted in 2019.

The law only took effect this summer, after the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade abortion guarantees.

Abortion advocates and providers sued to block Georgia’s law and Judge McBurney held a two-day trial last month in Atlanta. 

The state Attorney General’s office says it’s appealing the ruling.