The order drops Fulton County, Fulton Counsty Board of Registration and Elections, and Fulton County Clerk of Superior and Magistrate Courts as defendants in the case. To hear mainstream pseudomedia tell it, this ends any audit and is a win for the election officials.
What the judge did was drop the official goverment entities on the basis of sovereign immunity. I think the judge misread the state constitution, but for once I’m kinda glad.
Plaintiffs argued that an amendment to the constitution allowed suits to go forward without getting the government entity’s permission. The judge says otherwise. Here’s the applicable section:
Sovereign immunity is hereby waived so that a court awarding declaratory relief pursuant to this Paragraph may, only after awarding declaratory relief, enjoin such acts to enforcement its judgement. Such waiver of sovereign immunity under this Paragraph shall apply to past, current, and prospective acts which occur on or after January 1, 2021.
The judge reads that as meaning the he cannot waive immunity for anything occurring before 1/1/2021 — the November 2020 election. But I read it differently. That is a comma-delineated list of acts: Such waiver of sovereign immunity under this Paragraph shall apply to past COMMA current COMMA and prospective acts which occur on or after January 1, 2021. It breaks down so:
- past acts (the election)
- current acts (things still occurring)
- future acts (things occurring on or after 1/1/20211, which was the future when the amendment was drafted)
So I think the judge was incorrect. But his order adds new defendants: the people involved in the apparent… mismanagement of the election as individuals. The county is no longer party to the suit.
Hello Alex Wan, Mark Wingate, Kathleen Ruth, Vernetta Nuriddin, and Aaron Johnson; private individuals.
As I see it, those individuals are now responsible for their own legal expenses, which are probably going to be rather large. Up till now, the county had been footing the defense bill. That had better end now.
Sure, the county can keep paying its own lawyers to do amicus briefs, but the individual defendants will have to hire independent attorneys. Generally, attorneys working for parties can’t make amicus filings; they have to be independent.
And while ABC and the like thinks this ends any chance of an audit, the judge made no such order. He is continuing the case. It remains to be seen if he’ll allow an audit to go forward.
The order also makes no mention of the county — then a party — violating his order to maintain 24/7 security. Or the state unsealing ballots he ordered sealed. I’m looking forward to that. Are there bench warrants in someone’s future?
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