Georgia Attorney General Chris Carr took aim at the Department of Justice’s (DOJ) recently announced lawsuit against the state’s election law, calling the move “constitutionally wrong” and politically motivated.
In a Monday interview on Fox News, Carr objected to Friday’s decision by the DOJ to file a lawsuit against Georgia over the state’s recently passed Election Integrity Act, arguing that, “this blatantly political action taken by the United States Department of Justice is factually, legally and constitutionally wrong,” while alleging that the Justice Department was being “weaponized.”
Attorney General Merrick Garland announced the lawsuit at a press conference on Friday, alleging the Georgia elections law is a violation of the federal Voting Rights Act’s protections for minority voters.
“Our complaint alleges that recent changes to Georgia’s election laws were enacted with the purpose of denying or abridging the right of black Georgians to vote on account of their race or color,” Garland said.
“Where we believe the civil rights of Americans have been violated, we will not hesitate to act,” he added.
The legal action takes aim at SB 202, or the Election Integrity Act of 2021 (pdf), which cleared both state legislative chambers with no Democratic backing, and was signed into law by Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp on March 25—drawing praise from backers of elections integrity measures and protests from those who claim the bill amounts to “voter suppression.”
On Friday, in a statement to The Epoch Times, Kemp criticized the DOJ’s lawsuit as being a product “of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start.”
“Now,” his statement added, “they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy.”
Asked about the lawsuit, Carr agreed with Kemp’s characterization that the DOJ was being weaponized, arguing that the Justice Department “is simply playing politics” and is not upholding the rule of law.
Carr added that “anybody who will actually read the Georgia law sees it strengthens security, it expands access, and it improves transparency.”
Republicans have argued the election reform measures are necessary improvements to shore up integrity and rebuild confidence in the state’s elections. The reforms include requiring photo or state-approved identification to vote absentee by mail. They also mandate that secure drop boxes be placed inside early voting locations, with constant surveillance, and the law expands early voting across the state to address a key Democrat concern. The bill also shortens the election cycle for runoffs from nine weeks to four and requires a minimum of one week of early voting before Election Day.
The new DOJ lawsuit is being handled by Kristen Clarke, the head of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division, Associate Attorney General Vanita Gupta, and Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Pamela Karlan.
“The provisions we are challenging reduce access to absentee voting at each step of the process pushing more Black voters to in person voting, where they will be more likely than white voters to confront long lines,” Clarke said Friday in criticizing the Georgia law.
The federal lawsuit DOJ’s lawsuit was filed in the Northern District of Georgia. The suit is one of several others petitioning the courts for relief after the voting measure was signed into law.
Jack Phillips contributed to this report.