Gov. Kemp Files Lawsuit Against Mayor Bottoms Over Mask Mandate Enforcement

The 124-page complaint Thursday was filed with the Superior Court of Fulton County after Keisha Lance Bottoms said she would keep enforcing a mask mandate that was otherwise 'suspended' by Georgia's Governor.

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Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Attorney General Chris Carr on Thursday filed a lawsuit against Atlanta Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council with the Superior Court of Fulton County.

The 124-page complaint seeks to legally strike down a mask mandate issued by Bottoms last week requiring Atlantans to wear masks in public places during the novel coronavirus pandemic.

“Local governments, such as the City of Atlanta, do not have the ability or the authority to regulate and control the state of Georgia,” the lawsuit states. “As the Mayor of the City of Atlanta, Mayor Bottoms is charged with implementing the terms of the Governor’s COVID-19 Executive Orders within the city; Mayor Bottoms does not have the legal authority to modify, change, or ignore Governor Kemp’s Executive Orders.”

Kemp’s filing arrives shortly after Mayor Bottoms in a press conference Thursday said she would continue to enforce her mask mandate even after the Governor’s office “suspended” it by way of a renewed Executive Order Wednesday.

“This lawsuit is on behalf of the Atlanta business owners and their hardworking employees who are struggling to survive during these difficult times,” Kemp said in a statement Thursday. “These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families while local elected officials shutter businesses and undermine economic growth. Just like sending in the Georgia National Guard to protect those living in our capital city from crime and violence, I refuse to sit back and watch as disastrous policies threaten the lives and livelihoods of our citizens. We will fight to stop these reckless actions and put people over pandemic politics.”

Mayor Bottoms later tweeted a response to Kemp’s lawsuit saying, “3104 Georgians have died and I and my family are amongst the 106k who have tested positive for COVID-19. Meanwhile, I have been sued by [Gov. Kemp] for a mask mandate. A better use of taxpayer money would be to expand testing and contact tracing.”

Click here to see the lawsuit in its entirety.

[Editor’s note: The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic is rapidly evolving as is its effect on Atlanta, and the City’s businesses and its residents. Click here for What Now Atlanta’s ongoing coverage of the crisis. For guidance and updates on the pandemic, please visit the C.D.C. website.]

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

Caleb J. Spivak

14 Responses

  1. Local governments, such as the City of Atlanta, do not have the ability or the authority to regulate and control the state of Georgia

    — when did she ever try to mandate masks for the whole state?

    These men and women are doing their very best to put food on the table for their families

    — if we’re still employed, most of us can wear a mask AND put food on the table.

    put people over pandemic politics

    — he really said that???
    Does he have a problem with successful Black women, or is it something else?

    1. Oh hush this has nothing to do with being a successful black woman and you know it. This is about rule of law your skin color has nothing to do with this nothing. Forcing a mandate to wear a mask starts to impede on human rights ( what ever color your are doesn’t matter). The mask are a suggested thing and mandating will cause more people to become sick from other things like lack of oxygen to the brain and other vital organs that eventually weaken the very immune system you need to fight off any virus. This has nothing to do with the pigment in her skin. That is now becoming a cop out . The cdc “ recommends” a cloth face covering but do you remember they first suggested ( never mandating) a mask? Why do you think they changed it from mask to cloth? Because they were getting overwhelmed with calls about people getting sick from wearing a mask that does NOT stop or prevent. Now you may start seeing news outlets falsely putting the word prevent or stop but that is false. The n95 mask( designed for contaminated areas). The mask ( cannot filter key word filter air and needs to be changed out every 30 min) The cloth which is the worse creates an environment where bacteria and mold can grow in a porous piece of fabric due to the moisture). Now look at how descriptive one can be when they don’t pull the race card which has absolutely no bearing in a situation dealing with your right as a human being to decide if you want to wear a covering over the very area of your body that filters and brings oxygen to the body to prevent internal illness or suffocation. Then look at your comment again. One is the easy emotional answer the other is the common sense answer. Now get back in your sheep box and go to sleep with your eyes wide shut

      1. Taylor, I wasn’t playing the race card, or even indicating that I think Kemp is a racist.
        I’m just wondering if he’s a bit biased.
        Is he suing the other 14 cities that have mandated masks, or just our city’s mayor?
        Maybe I missed the fact that he’s also suing those other cities, in which case I retract my comment.
        Not sure where you’re getting your information from (masks create a lack of oxygen to the brain)– but you’re just passing on bad information. And where has mandated face
        covering been struck down as unconstitutional?

        1. And where has mandated face covering been struck down as unconstitutional?

          If challenged it is almost certain it would indeed be struck down as unconstitutional. Nobody has challenged it. Yet.

  2. I also wanna say, I don’t think firearms should be permitted during a protest.
    I don’t care what color the person is.

  3. Kemp is determined to kill as many people as possible. He needs to be arrested and thrown in prison. He cheated to steal the election anyway thanks to voter suppression and voter purges of blacks and minorities. Now I guess he is trying to kill them all with the virus so they can’t vote. Kemp is one sick individual just like his buddy Trump. The entire Republican party has become a terrorist organization. With the virus raging and Kemp and Trump determined to make it worse, it’ll just take longer to recover from the Trump Pandemic and the Trump Great Depression. I wonder how many Georgians will die because Kemp is making a stink about masks. He and his buddy Trump have both sunk lower than Hitler and Bin Laden

    1. You are so emotional and fear based that you actually are thinking someone is trying to kill you because the mandate of a face covering is being struck down as unconstitutional? Think about that emotional baseless statement you just stated. And again stop using the race card when it’s a situation everybody is involved in. You are pushing fear over a rule of law in question. You can’t over ride the governing body executive orders and then try to mandate your own. The virus is like many other viruses except this one is RNA( google search or tea search for yourself) Did you see the article wear a pregnant woman and her unborn child caught the virus? We were told it’s airborne so how could a fetus or unborn child catch that inside the belly ? Just stop pushing fear just because you are fearful and lack common sense. This is about the rule of law. Side note -Mask do not stop or prevent a virus . You must strengthen your immune system through nutrition ( stay away from all the processed foods and stressful tv news and depriving your body of oxygen over a period of time) and using common sense. The race card has nothing to do with this lawsuit . We all might be surprised at what this is really about anyway. Stay tuned

      1. Kemp is doing nothing to stop the spread of the virus. He doesn’t give a damn how many people die. All he is doing is sucking up to the criminal in the white supremacist house. Kemp like Trump wants to let the virus run its course and kill as many people as possible. All he cares about is the 1% and the businesses opening. But they won’t open and people won’t spend money with the virus raging. Kemp cheated to steal the election through voter purges and voter suppression of minorities. Now he’s trying to kill them all off apparently

        1. Kemp is wearing a mask in the photo on this post and encouraged all Georgians to do the same. That’s not nothing. Did your head just explode?

        2. only 0.16% of the entire state has had a case of the virus bad enough to seek medical attention. That is with around 10% of the state having the virus. In contrast… nearly 17% of the state had to seek financial help to cope with unemployment during the crisis.

    2. Hmmm. The comment accusing Kemp of being a racist mass murdering terrorist is acceptable, but my comment suggesting that’s a bit over the line gets moderated?

  4. It’s funny, I seem to remember Kemp wanting to leave these decisions up to the cities:

    [Kemp] has resisted calls to take more restrictive action like ordering all people to stay at home or shutting non-essential businesses, and instead left those decisions to local governments. That’s led to a patchwork of various restrictions and orders that have sprung up from cities and counties across the state. (Mar-27-2020)

    Then I remember the cities begging Kemp to come up with a statewide policy in order to stop a hodgepodge of different ordinances popping up.

    Sandy Springs Mayor Rusty Paul said a consensus emerged from about 50 mayors during a Monday call that a “statewide stay-at-home order and other policies were needed to remedy the inconsistent, confusing patchwork of policies now in place.” (Mar-30-2020)

    So the cities got exactly what they wanted and as a result have dragged State-level politics into their municipalities. Any look at the State COVID-19 maps ( shows that the state has different COVID situations so there might be a political price to pay for lockdowns in those areas. This is an election year and I’m sure Kemp is looking out for specific Republicans. Let’s not be obtuse here, all people involved are posturing for political optics.
    The problem is, instead of taking full responsibility for their constituents, these cities punted and let the camel’s nose under the tent. The camel is now pulling rank.

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