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Advisors to some of Georgia’s most powerful Republican politicians dampened prospects of any reforms that would give Gov. Brian Kemp (R) direct authority to pardon those convicted of crimes, including former President Donald Trump.

Earlier this week, I explained why Trump won’t be eligible for a pardon in Georgia for five years if he’s found guilty of the charges brought by District Attorney Fanni Willis. Under Georgia’s constitution, Gov. Brian Kemp doesn’t have the authority to pardon the former president. Georgia’s legal system is structured with an independent board that grants or denies requests for pardons.

After hearing about Georgia’s unique system for pardons, Trump’s defenders began pressing the most powerful Republicans in the state to initiate reforms for Trump to be pardoned. Reforming Georgia’s pardon system in place would require a constitutional amendment, which can only happen with a two-thirds vote in the General Assembly and support from a majority of voters in a referendum. It can’t pass without significant Democratic support, which means that there is no hope for such a change to be made to accommodate Trump and his supporters.

In an excerpt from the Atlanta Journal Constitution (Georgia’s largest newspaper, not a legal document) Kemp adviser Cody Hall compared the conspiracy theories that dominated pro-Trump circles in the last presidential election to the pressure campaign now to overhaul the pardon process.

“Where have I heard special session, changing decades-old law, and overturning constitutional precedent before?” Hall asked. “Oh right, prior to Republicans losing two Senate runoffs in January of 2021.”

He added: “What are people hoping to learn in the second kick of the election-losing mule?”

A top deputy to House Speaker Jon Burns also dismissed the idea.

“Given the political makeup of the General Assembly,” Burns spokesman Kaleb McMichen said, “such an amendment is not feasible and thus would not merit consideration.”


  • Matt O'Hern

    Matt O’Hern created to inform voters about the latest news and developments surrounding the top political issues and trends involving federal, state and local leaders throughout the southeastern United States. Population booms and demographic shifts have made the southeast the most competitive region in the nation. Since 2004, O’Hern has worked with political campaigns in roles ranging from major projects involving nationwide digital marketing for U.S. Presidential candidates, U.S. Congressmen, state governors, and state representatives. O’Hern’s journalism background includes news reporting and editing for various organizations and news publications in Alabama and Florida since 2002. O’Hern graduated from Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama, with a degree in journalism, and a minor in political science.

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