by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
There’s losing a lawsuit, and then there’s what happened to Stacey Abrams in federal court last week.
Abrams, of course, has become a progressive rock star thanks to her insistence that Georgia’s election system is a sink of racially motivated voter suppression. She denied the legitimacy of her 2018 defeat in her first run for governor based on these claims, and she’s been hailed in the press as a savior of American democracy because she is so committed to fighting the state’s supposedly malign practices.
Now, federal district judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee, has shredded key contentions in her long-running argument against Georgia. In the case, a group founded by Abrams, Fair Fight Action, alleged all manner of violations of the Constitution and the Voting Rights Act. In a comprehensive, careful, and rhetorically unadorned 288-page decision, Jones would have none of it. He ruled against Fair Fight Action and the other plaintiffs on all counts.
The case began in the immediate aftermath of the 2018 election. Elements of the case fell away as Georgia made changes in its election law in 2019, but central claims that Abrams has relied on to maintain that she was cheated — an assertion almost universally accepted by her party — were still at issue. Jones swatted them away based on repeated findings that no actual voters had been harmed and the practices in question were reasonable. …
… As Judge Jones writes, “there was no connection between the materials and an actual voter issue.” Indeed, of the seven voters the plaintiffs presented who had trouble at polling places, six of them still got to vote. The one who didn’t had a very brief, 15-minute window to vote because that’s the limited time that her senior-care facility allotted to her, and she couldn’t get it sorted out at the polling place in time. Jim Crow, this is not.
This was the pattern through the entire case.