First court hearing set for Kemp vs. Bottoms over masks, but settlement might be in the works

The first hearing on Gov. Brian Kemp’s lawsuit against Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms and the Atlanta City Council over COVID-19 mask requirements and restrictions is set for Tuesday, July 28.

The hearing will take place at 10 a.m. in courtroom 8A of the Fulton County Courthouse with Judge Jane Barwick presiding. She’s the third judge assigned to the case after two others recused themselves.

However, the hearing might not happen if Kemp and Bottoms reach a settlement, which the mayor discussed during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon on July 22.

Asked about her dispute with the governor, Bottoms told Fallon that she’d had a phone conversation with Kemp about the issue.

“We discussed where we disagree and, hopefully, we can figure out a way to agree to disagree without having to play this out in court,” Bottoms said. “At the end of the day, we want the same thing. We want people to be safe and stop the spread of COVID-19. It certainly doesn’t help we’re having to fight one other.”

Kemp’s office confirmed the conversation, calling it a “productive conversation,” according to a report in the AJC.

Kemp announced last week that he had instructed the state attorney general to file the suit after Bottoms mandated masks and rolled back the city’s reopening plan, which recommended residents shelter in place, restaurants close dining rooms, and prohibiting public gatherings of more than 10 people.

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley is the editor of Atlanta Intown.