Prosecutors are risking their careers by refusing to enforce some controversial laws passed by Republican legislators in various states.
The elected law enforcement officials have said they're doing the right thing by ignoring GOP-passed bans on abortion, voting restrictions, limits on protest activities, discriminatory laws against LGBTQ people, and restrictions on mask mandates, but even prosecutors in heavily Democratic strongholds will eventually have to face voters, reported The Associated Press.
"The real limit on this is political," said William & Mary Law School professor Jeffrey Bellin. "These prosecutors have to stand for election almost everywhere in the country. Ultimately, the limit on this is popularity."
Nashville prosecutor Glenn Funk vowed not to prosecute teachers and school officials defying Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee's executive order allowing parents to opt out of mask mandates, and he won't enforce a GOP-passed law requiring notices outside public restrooms warning that transgender people could be inside.
"It's also incumbent, I think, upon public officials who disagree to stand up and say so," Funk told The AP. "Because if people who are elected officials just stay quiet in the face of unconstitutional laws being passed, in the face of a social debate that might actually be dehumanizing large sections of our population, then if nobody speaks up, then the impression is that there is a not another side to this argument, and that there really is no argument."
The Gwinnett County solicitor vowed not to punish anyone who distributed food or water to voters in line, as Georgia Republicans had required, and prosecutors in Florida, Kansas and Vermont have also refused to enforce laws they see as cruel or discriminatory.
"We know that our country has seen a past where some have sought to criminalize interracial marriage or individuals of different race who choose to sit at a lunch counter together, or ride a bus together, or use certain bathrooms and certain drinking fountains," said Miriam Krinsky, executive director of Fair and Just Prosecution. "Change often starts at the ground and moves its way on up."