Kemp et al. v. Gonzalez et al.

849 S.E.2d 667 (2020)

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Kemp et al. v. Gonzalez et al.

Georgia Supreme Court
849 S.E.2d 667 (2020)

SC

Facts

Ken Mauldin, the district attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit, resigned effective February 29, 2020. His term was set to expire at the end of 2020, with an election originally scheduled for November 2020. A Georgia statute provided that a governor appointee to fill a vacancy in the district-attorney position was to serve for at least six months and that the election to replace the vacancy appointee would come at the next statewide election that occurred at least six months after appointment. Deborah Gonzalez (plaintiff) sought to qualify for the November 2020 election to succeed Mauldin. Pursuant to the statute, the Georgia secretary of state ruled that the position of district attorney for the Western Judicial Circuit would not be on the ballot in 2020 due to the six-month requirement but would be on the next ballot, in November 2022. Gonzalez filed suit, asserting that the statute violated a provision of the Georgia Constitution stating that district attorneys were to serve fixed, four-year terms. The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit certified the question to the Georgia Supreme Court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Melton, C.J.)

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