Court of Appeals Reevaluates Standing in 2020 Presidential Election Lawsuits per Supreme Court Order – American Faith

In a significant development, the Court of Appeals of Georgia has revisited two election-related lawsuits following a directive from the Supreme Court.

The cases, A22A0939 (Favorito et al. v. Wan et al.) and A22A1097 (Jeffords et al. v. Fulton County et al.), centered around allegations of vote dilution and violations of the Georgia Open Records Act during the 2020 presidential election, according to a legal document obtained by Just the News.

The lawsuits were initially dismissed by the trial court due to lack of standing and prior adjudication.

The Court of Appeals upheld this decision in a previous ruling.

However, the Supreme Court granted certiorari, vacated the Court of Appeals’ opinion, and instructed a reconsideration of the cases based on a recent Supreme Court judgment on standing in Sons of Confederate Veterans v. Henry Cnty. Bd. of Commrs.

The Court of Appeals, led by Presiding Judge McFadden, outlined their course of action as dictated by established rules.

They noted that portions of their prior opinion that did not pertain to standing remained unaffected and were thus reaffirmed.

However, the court focused on Division 1 of their prior opinion, which addressed the issue of standing.

They acknowledged that their previous ruling relied on the requirement that “a litigant must demonstrate (1) an injury in fact; (2) a causal connection between the injury and the causal conduct; and (3) the likelihood that the injury will be redressed with a favorable decision,” according to the document.

Nevertheless, the Supreme Court’s recent decision in Sons of Confederate Veterans clarified that an injury does not always have to be individualized.

It can be a “generalized grievance shared by community members,” including citizens, residents, taxpayers, or voters. Such individuals, termed “community stakeholders,” possess the right to assert standing when their local government fails to comply with the law.

Applying this new precedent, the Court of Appeals concluded that certain appellants lacked standing since they were not residents of Fulton County, the jurisdiction in question.

The court reaffirmed the dismissals for these individuals, stating that they failed to show themselves as community stakeholders.

However, for appellants Garland Favorito, Caroline Jeffords, Trevor Terris, and Christopher Peck, who all claimed Fulton County residency, the court vacated the dismissals and remanded the cases to the trial court.

The trial court was directed to reassess their standing as community stakeholders in light of the Sons of Confederate Veterans ruling.

The Court of Appeals also underscored the Supreme Court’s guidance on the application of federal standing principles, noting that Georgia courts should only apply them when they align with binding precedents or are influenced by comparable language, history, and context.

This ruling marks a significant shift in the interpretation of standing requirements in election-related lawsuits, emphasizing the rights of community stakeholders in holding local governments accountable for their adherence to the law.

The remanded cases will now undergo further consideration, as the trial court evaluates the standing of the remaining appellants based on the new legal framework provided by the Supreme Court.

The court’s decision reflects the evolving legal landscape surrounding election disputes and sets an important precedent for future cases in Georgia.

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