Western Judicial Circuit district attorney candidate Deborah Gonzalez and four other plaintiffs sued Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for effectively canceling the DA election until 2022. (Photo Illustration/Julian Alexander)

The U.S. 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed federal Judge Mark Cohen’s July decision to issue a preliminary injunction in the lawsuit for the Athens district attorney race on Tuesday. 

The injunction charged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to reinstate the district attorney election for Athens-Clarke and Oconee counties, which had been effectively canceled earlier in the year due to a 2018 state law which gave Gov. Brian Kemp the authority to appoint the area’s next district attorney. Although his office began accepting applications in February, Kemp never appointed a replacement.

The Kemp and Raffensperger’s legal team appealed Cohen’s decision, saying the district court abused its discretion. However, the 11th circuit ruled the court didn’t abuse its discretion because the injunction met the necessary legal standards.

District attorney candidate Deborah Gonzalez sued Kemp for canceling the election, recently winning the lawsuit as the Georgia Supreme Court ruled the 2018 law violated the Georgia Constitution. The court ruled the law authorizes a governor-appointed district attorney to serve beyond the remainder of their predecessor’s unexpired four-year term without an election, which violates the state constitution.