“A Black prosecutor was elected in Georgia – so white Republicans made their own district”

The Guardian reports on a different kind of circuit split:

Since 1870, the Augusta judicial circuit has been home to the criminal justice system of a three-county area on Georgia’s border with South Carolina. In that time, no African American has been elected district attorney of the circuit – until 2020, when a Black lawyer named Jared Williams upset a conservative, pro-police candidate with just more than 50% of the vote.

But that historic win was short-lived. The day after his election, a lawyer and state lawmaker in the area proposed something unusual: that the circuit’s whitest county separate itself from the Augusta circuit, creating a new judicial circuit in Georgia for the first time in nearly 40 years…

The split caused the disenfranchisement of the old circuit’s Black voters, voting advocacy organization Black Voters Matter Fund contended in a lawsuit that was eventually dismissed by the state supreme court. Those voters had chosen Williams, who ran on a pledge to uphold criminal justice reforms such as not prosecuting low-level marijuana possession, a crime which disproportionately affects Black and minority communities.

Instead of Williams, Black voters in Columbia county got as their prosecutor Bobby Christine, a Trump-appointed US attorney who was appointed by the Republican governor, Brian Kemp. Christine then chose Williams’s opponent as his chief deputy.

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