Public Interest Legal Foundation Files Motion to Intervene in DOJ Lawsuit Against Georgia

Sloane (no last name given), 2, waits between her father's legs as he and other voters cast their ballots at a polling station set up at Grady High School for the mid-term elections on November 6, 2018 in Atlanta, Georgia. Georgia has a tight race to elect the state's next …
Jessica McGowan/Getty Images

The Public Interest Legal Foundation (PILF) jumped to the defense of the state of Georgia earlier this month when it filed a motion to intervene in the lawsuit the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) brought against the state in June.

The DOJ filed a lawsuit in federal district court on June 24 arguing that the state’s newly enacted Election Integrity Act of 2021 violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which prohibits racial discrimination.

PILF President J. Christian Adams said in a statement released by the organization:

This lawsuit by the Department of Justice is not only an abuse of power, but also an attempt to turn the Voting Rights Act into a one-way partisan ratchet. The Department of Justice cannot take the power from the people of Georgia to run their own elections. The Foundation’s experience in Voting Rights Act cases and election integrity and transparency issues will allow us to help Georgia defend its legislation.

PILF argued in its proposed intervenor defendant proposed answer filed with the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia:

The Foundation denies the Plaintiff’s characterizations of the bill. The Foundation denies the Plaintiff’s accusations regarding the intent of the Georgia legislature. Plaintiff’s complaint fails to identify even one instance of recent intentional discrimination in voting by members of the Georgia Legislature and also mischaracterizes the operative effect of the challenged provisions.

As Breitbart News reported on June 26, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp (R-GA) and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger pushed back against the Department of Justice on the same day it announced it had filed the lawsuit against Georgia on the ground the 2021 Election Integrity Act, signed into law by Kemp in March of this year, violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, which bans racial discrimination:

“This lawsuit is born out of the lies and misinformation the Biden administration has pushed against Georgia’s Election Integrity Act from the start,” Kemp said in a statement released on Friday:

Joe Biden, Stacey Abrams, and their allies tried to force an unconstitutional elections power grab through Congress – and failed. Now, they are weaponizing the U.S. Department of Justice to carry out their far-left agenda that undermines election integrity and empowers federal government overreach in our democracy. As Secretary of State, I fought the Obama Justice Department twice to protect the security of our elections – and won. I look forward to going three for three to ensure it’s easy to vote and hard to cheat in Georgia.

The Biden Administration continues to do the bidding of Stacey Abrams and spreads more lies about Georgia’s election law. Their lies already cost Georgia $100 million and got the President awarded with four Pinocchios. It is no surprise that they would operationalize their lies with the full force of the federal government. I look forward to meeting them, and beating them, in court,” Raffensperger said in a separate statement.

Gregg Jarrett, legal analyst for Fox News, said the DOJ’s 46-page complaint is long on historical rhetoric and short on supporting empirical evidence. Consequently, they argue, the Biden administration’s chances of winning the case are a longshot.

The key premise of the DOJ lawsuit is that the intent of the Georgia law is to discriminate against black voters.

“The right of all eligible citizens to vote is the central pillar of our democracy, the right from which all other rights ultimately flow. This lawsuit is the first step of many we are taking to ensure that all eligible voters can cast a vote; that all lawful votes are counted; and that every voter has access to accurate information,” Attorney General Merrick Garland said in a statement released by the DOJ on Friday.

The DOJ’s case experienced a significant setback on July 1 when the Supreme Court of the United States held in Brnovich v. Democratic National Committee that Arizona’s laws to prohibit out-of-precinct voting and ballot harvesting did not violate Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

Breitbart News reported on that decision:

Justice Alito wrote for the majority in a 6 to 3 decision that neither Arizona’s HB 2023 banning ballot harvesting nor the policy outlawing out-of-precinct voting  violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act which bans racial discrimination. . .

Alito then addressed the key argument made against the Arizona election practices, that they violated Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act and were therefore racially discriminatory.

“Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act provides vital protection against discriminatory voting rules, and no one suggests that discrimination in voting has been extirpated, or that the threat has been eliminated. But Section 2 does not deprive the States of their authority to establish non-discriminatory voting rules, and that is precisely what the dissent’s radical interpretation would mean in practice,” Alito wrote.

That key phrase in Alito’s majority opinion–that Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act “does not deprive the States of their authority to establish non-discriminatory voting rules,”– will likely play a role in judicial decisions in the lawsuit filed by the Department of Justice in federal district court last week against the State of Georgia, which alleged that the state’s new Election Integrity Act of 2021 (SB 202) violates Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act.

The case is United States v. Georgia, No. 1:21-cv-2575 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

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