“Jim Eagle” Has Landed: A Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Georgia Election Law

Below is my expanded column in Fox.com on the recent decision finding the Georgia election law constitutional. That was the law widely denounced by President Joe Biden and other Democratic leaders as unconstitutional as a “new Jim Crow” law. The media repeated the claim despite some of us noting that the law fit well within existing precedent and even shared conditions with blue states like Delaware. Now that the challenge to election law changes denounced as voter suppression have been entirely rejected, there is little more than a shrug from some of the same figures and outlets.

Here is the column:

“Jim Eagle” has landed… with a thud. President Joe Biden famously (and somewhat bizarrely) used the name “Jim Eagle” to characterize the Georgia election law. Democrats have criticized Georgia rules enacted before and after the 2020 election as voter suppression. The provisions in this lawsuit concerned pre-2020 changes that allegedly made it “harder to register, harder to stay registered and ultimately harder to vote.” Both Stacey Abrams and Joe Biden denounced the Georgia laws in 2020 as voter suppression.

In the meantime, another court refused an injunction sought by the Biden Administration of additional provisions passed after 2020 concerning a ban on political parties supplying water, food, and gifts to people waiting in line to vote. Such injunctions are only secured when there is a substantial likelihood of prevailing on the merits. The provision was emphasized by critics, including President Biden, among the various other changes.

It was not enough to call it “Jim Crow on steroids” and “sick,” President Biden wanted the public to know that the law was flagrantly unconstitutional. Some of us disagreed, but the view that counted was that of U.S. District Judge Steve Jones, an Obama appointee who heard the challenge to the law. This week, Jones found the law to be entirely constitutional.  The case involves a challenge filed four years ago.

After being declared the “new confederacy” and subjected to a costly boycott, Georgians could be forgiven if they view Biden’s claim as more foul and fowl.

Given the exhausting media coverage and condemnations of the law, one would expect the legion of legal experts out in force on a judge upholding the allegedly “modern Jim Crow law.”  Instead, it has been crickets . . . almost as if the earlier coverage was knowingly exaggerated for public consumption.

After the post-2020 changes, Democrats denounced the Georgia election laws as flagrantly unconstitutional and abusive. Georgia Democratic candidate for governor Stacey Abrams tweeted  “It’s Jim Crow in a suit + tie.” Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., called the laws “anti-American, racist, and a betrayal of our Constitution.” Democratic attorney Marc Elias (who allegedly hid the Clinton campaigns funding of the infamous Steele dossier) said in an interview that “democracy was assaulted with a pen” in the Georgia election law. Liberal publications like Vanity Fair called it “a broad, profoundly undemocratic assault on voting rights.”

Now that such claims were actually subjected to judicial review and rejected, there is little discussion of Jim Crow. The group that lost before the district court is closely associated with Abrams, who previously refused to concede the election of Gov. Brian Kemp in the last election.

President Biden once again has moved on. For weeks, Biden denounced Georgia as taking us back to the segregation period and even the Civil War. Yet, the ruling met with a shrug from the White House.

It is a familiar pattern.  The president has often made sweeping legal claims and then refused to address the rejection of those claims.

The Georgia ruling actually came on the anniversary of one of the most reprehensible examples. A year ago, President Biden rushed to condemn border agents falsely accused of whipping migrants from horses along the border. Not waiting for charges, let alone an investigation, Biden declared “It’s outrageous. I promise you, those people will pay.”

The same pattern followed. While some of us noted that there was no evidence to support the claim (and actually the photographer denied the allegation), the media went into the same frenzy. While promising a quick investigation, the Biden administration then slow walked the process and recently cleared the agents of the whipping allegation. They will, of course, still be punished just as the president promised that they would . . . for something.

The one thing that they will not receive is an apology from President Biden. The news cycle is over and they are no longer relevant. It is no longer important or worth mentioning that Biden openly misrepresented the law with a series of false statements. In today’s highly protective media, Biden can just move on without contradiction to his next sensational legal claim.

There is also silence from those who supported the boycott of Georgia over election laws that critics claimed would suppress voter turnout. Major League Baseball pulled the All-Star Game out of Atlanta and may have cost the state as much as $100 million.

The MLB is entirely silent in its decision to punish Georgia before any review of the courts of the pre-2020 or post-2020 changes. While some of us disagreed with Abrams and Biden, the MLB simply punished the whole state.

Georgia has noted that the alleged “voter suppression” under the law turned out to be a voter enhancement. According to the secretary of state’s office, 1.9 million eligible voters participated in the 2022 primary contest compared to 1.2 million in 2018. Moreover, African-American turnout was 22% higher than any other primary election except for the 2020 presidential primary.

Nevertheless, the Justice Department is continuing its own challenge of the post 2020 changes, which is further undermined by the analysis of Judge Jones on the pre 2020 provisions.  The Justice Department is challenging stricter voter ID requirementsdrop box regulations, shorter absentee ballot request deadlines and other provisions. However, it has not challenged similar or even more restrictive provisions in other states like Delaware.

Given the reasoning and precedent in the Jones opinion, such objections seem even less compelling particularly given the record turnout in the last election cycle despite both the pre-2020 and post-2020 changes.

Much like the border agent controversy at Homeland Security, the Justice Department seems driven to prove the president right. However, thus far, no one can get the “Jim Eagle” claim off the ground in challenging the Georgia election law.

Judge Jones wrote: “the burden on voters is relatively low…  plaintiffs have not provided direct evidence of a voter who was unable to vote, experienced longer wait times, was confused about voter registration status.” That seems a bit odd for a state widely denounced as engaging in voter suppression before and after 2020.

So much for “Jim Eagle.” Yet, these baseless claims will only increase with the approaching midterm elections. Our politics have now come to resemble the “bad” days described in William Shakespeare’s “Richard III” when “wrens make prey where eagles dare not perch.”

*This version was expanded to add greater detail on the pre-2020 and post-2020 election law changes involved in the two challenges mentioned in the Fox.com column. Both sets of election changes were denounced as voter suppression.

101 thoughts on ““Jim Eagle” Has Landed: A Federal Court Rejects Challenge to Georgia Election Law”

  1. It is usually a safe bet that Biden is wrong. People credit him with ineptitude in foreign policy but his incompetence is far more metastasized than that.

  2. Professor Turley,

    Your article assumes that the Judge adjudicated all of the original claims brought by Fair Fight but this is simply not true. Some of the claims were not included because, as a result of the lawsuit, Georgia changed the law or ended the practice. For example, the state ended a controversial practice of removing eligible Georgians off the active voter list if their application signature did not exactly match government records. This “exact match” policy led to tens of thousands of voters being deemed not to be citizens when their names deviated from government records, a practice that disproportionately impacted minorities.

    Separately, I can also personally attest to the problems with Atlanta’s election procedures. During the 2018 election, my roommate and I were instructed to go to separate polling locations despite (obviously) having the same address. When he got to his polling station, he found out that it was not operational. He found dozens of individuals (given the neighborhood, disproportionately minority) who also showed up there. He only knew to show up at my polling station because I received the correct address, but the others did not have that information and likely did not vote. That was absolutely terrible. Whether that was by design or simple negligence, I have no idea. But, to say that everything in Atlanta was peachy during the 2018 election is certainly incorrect.

    1. Breaking my rule against replying to comments by people too afraid or whatever to identify themselves, I take it you live in Atlanta. I thought the allegations have been that everything in Atlanta (Fulton County?) in 2018 and 2020 was fine. I though the problems were out where the rednecks live?

      1. I don’t know what you are referencing. If this is a nod to the fake scandal regarding ballots at Mercedes-Benz Stadium during the 2020 election, I fail to see the connection. Wrong topic and wrong election. I voted absentee in 2020, so I have no idea what conditions were like at the polls.

        My biggest issue with Georgia’s 2021 voting law, however, was not litigated in this case. With little to no oversight, the GOP-run legislature has the discretion to replace any county elections board. This enables the legislature to cherry pick which county boards of election to replace (with no real requirement that the replacements are tied to any pressing issue – as determined by anyone other than themselves – or a need to fix any particular issue).

        This is indeed what appears likely with Fulton County: https://www.ajc.com/politics/republicans-pick-fulton-elections-critic-for-state-election-board/FW7BG37G7ZHQZIQU364GGPVA5Y/

        The only way to minimize the partisan gamesmanship of elections oversight is to create an independent bipartisan board and not to give control to those who directly stand to benefit from such oversight. That goes for both parties.

        1. 1. Why would you think I was referencing a scandal when my words were “I thought everything was fine” in Atlanta (as opposed to in other counties)? Pretty simple question: Was that true or not? Are you saying it was different in 2018 than 2020?
          2. Isn’t the bigger issue that — despite what Professor Turley wrote in his post — nothing to do with the 2021 Georgia voting law was litigated. The whole premise of this blog post and most of the comments on it are about 2021 law but the court case decided by Judge Steven Jones was about the 2018 laws

          1. I agree with you on Point 2.

            There were problematic issues with Georgia laws before the 2020 election, some of which (like “exact match”: see https://www.lawyerscommittee.org/georgia-largely-abandons-its-broken-exact-match-voter-registration-process/) were not adjudicated by the Judge’s recent ruling because Governor Kemp ended the much maligned practice.

            There were separate issues in the 2021 election law that were not litigated here. My original response to this article was that Professor Turley fails to acknowledge how narrow the Judge’s recent ruling extends. It is not a complete repudiation of the many successful challenges to Georgia elections law.

            As for Point 1, I don’t really understand your issue. I never said Georgia elections were fine. There are absolutely situations where voters have been suppressed (i.e., my personal example – having lived in the Old Fourth Ward). But, that doesn’t mean that these issues are the same ones that Trump rails about every day.

            1. As to point 2, this blog post was “quietly” changed substantially sometime after 5pm October 4. There is a footnote about the substantial changes (although I see no superscript that would lead a reader to the footnote)

    2. When you say “disproportionately” what exactly is the “correct proportion” and who determines that?

      1. When residents of a neighborhood, where 2/3rd of its residents are African American, are notified to vote at a polling station that is not operational, the failure to properly instruct said residents of the appropriate polling station disproportionately affects minorities. That is a pretty straightforward one.

        1. This makes no sense; this is impossible according to the law. Here’s the extant immigration law on January 1, 1863:

          Naturalization Act of 1802

          United States Congress, “An act to establish an uniform Rule of Naturalization,” March 26, 1790

          Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America, in Congress assembled, That any Alien being a free white person, who shall have resided within the limits and under the jurisdiction of the United States for the term of two years, may be admitted to become a citizen thereof…

          Oh, and where exactly is AfricaAmerica?

        2. Polling stations are created locally. I assume that 2/3rds are local.

          You have thrown mud, but not provided any details demonstrating your action was warranted. Based on previous experience. it is likely made up or your details are inadequate.

  3. Svelaz says “Well, Georgia DOES have a nasty history of applying Jim Crow laws. It’s famous for that”. Many states had anti Chinese laws and anti Japanese laws, Irish were discriminated against, in the northeast, and especially Catholics. So much so that Irish recruits deserted in the Mexican War and fought for Mexico and a host of other discriminatory acts in many states outside the south and Georgia. Jim Crow laws were also outside the south and Georgia. California’s Attorney General and later governor Earl Warren led the charge to have Japanese Americans moved out of their homes and placed in Concentration Camps in World War 2 and the US paid reparations ultimately to the survivors. I think Mr Svelaz should also start to realize that times and things change. New York was the most Tory City in the American Revolution and we forgave them (sort of).
    As far as dealing with Major League Baseball, the best way to deal with that is for the Atlanta Braves to win the World Series AGAIN.
    It must be galling to so many outside the South to see businesses beat a wide path to Georgia, Florida (even with hurricanes), South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and Texas, and now even Alabama. Not to mention that first class NCAA football has basically disappeared from the areas outside the Old South, and the Midwest. Or all the California kids that go to the SEC and Big Ten to play real football. It used to be the reverse.

      1. I googled “Judge Steven Jones” filtered by Georgia and it was the first news article that came up. There were 10 other articles there saying the same thing. I think you are missing the point. It appears Professor Turley wrote about and 50 people are commenting profusely about something that did NOT happen. If true, that is the definition of fake news

    1. Note that this blog post was “quietly” changed substantially sometime after 5pm October 4 so many of the comments before that time will make no sense. There is a footnote about the substantial changes (although I see no superscript that would lead a reader to the footnote)

  4. “Nevertheless, the Justice Department is continuing its own challenge.”

    What does that mean? Does the DoJ have a separate lawsuit against Georgia in progress in front of a different judge?

  5. I was thinking of beginning this comment with “lessons learned” or something to that effect. The truth, though, is much simpler: all of us (except for the gullible Democrat base) have always understood that today’s Democratic Party consists of extremists to whom lying is only one of their many flaws. Their ability to insult the intelligence of the American voter is beyond imagination, and the same is true of their media.

  6. They lie and cheat this is the MO of Democrats and their press.
    Watch the midterms, don’t let your guard down, they’re way too quiet.

    1. @Margot…astute observation.

      The MO of the National Socialist Democrat WOKE Party is to Lie, Cheat and Steal. Their playbook is Rules for Radicals by Saul Alinsky. The MSM is the propaganda arm of the party.

      In the history of the Twentieth Century the Marxists have never voluntarily surrendered power.

  7. I have been saying for a while that “The political left has shown its pattern of propaganda lies within their narratives so many times since 2016 that it’s beyond me why anyone would blindly accept any narrative that the political left and their lapdog media actively push?”

    What the Democrats and their lapdog Pravda media did with this “Jim Crow” propaganda narrative nonsense is exactly what they’ve been doing for quite a while; they’re intentionally trying to gin up hate towards Republicans based on LIES and their ignorant followers swallowed their LIES hook, line & sinker just like indoctrinated hive-minded sheeple.

    I’m done with the Democratic Party.

  8. In the “age of rage” as Professor Turley writes often, anything that is not part of the Democrats’ narrative, gets quickly memory-holed. Any time you hear a Democrat level personal insults, you know that the either the law, facts, or both, are against them. A lot of table pounding.

  9. Any critically thinking person knew this is how the case was going to turn out, there was absolutely no basis in reality for the false “Jim Crow” smears against the new Georgia election law, the whole thing was pure political propaganda. I’m sure there will be Democratic Party political hacks that will falsely smear the Judge Jones with all kinds of ad hominems for the decision.

    1. Agreed.
      All one had to do was read past the lying headlines, read what the law actually said, and anyone with a degree of critically thinking skills could easily see it was not, “Jim Crow” 2.0 or on steroids.
      Unfortunately, many did not read past the headline and blindly believed what leftist MSM told them.

  10. Everything Democrats say is calculated to produce the maximum media effect, and not a word is ever true. This is a demonstrable pattern, and getting very old. The only ones who seem to be blind to these scripts of deceit are, well, Democrats. The term “Jim Crow” is calculated to instill fear into the hearts of Americans, and few will read beyond the headlines. When you do, however, you can see that, to a Democrat, “Jim Crow” means requiring voter ID and not allowing ballot harvesting. The reasons are clear: in the pandemic year voting, when unusual measures were allowed by officials other than state legislatures, Democrats surprisingly won by a wide margin, even though the guy they nominated for president couldn’t put a sentence together, hid in the basement throughout the campaign, and had a history of racist gaffes (aka: saying the quiet part out loud). 99.9 percent of what Democrats say can be dismissed as lies and exaggerations. Believe the other .1 percent at your own peril.

    1. They lie.
      We know they lie.
      They know we know they lie.
      But they keep lying.
      Sad part is, they are actually believing in their own lies.
      And MSM goes along with them.
      Then they are shocked when we dont.

  11. Turley as usual oversimplifies things. At the time the Georgia law WAS seen as a burden. Before the ruling it was still seen as a bad law and accordingly everyone saw it that way, at least democrats did. Since the state DID have a deep and well known affinity for Jim Crow laws in the past and the current law had similar overtures it is not difficult to see why the democrats reacted the way they did. Even the MLB boycotting the state at the time had every reason to believe it was wrong. Because it was not decided by a court at the time it doesn’t mean those believing it was wrong were wrong.

    Now that a court has ruled on it’s merits then we can move on. Turley loves to point out when Biden makes claims and is proven wrong later, but leaves out Trump when he does the same thing. The partisan bias is obvious and hypocritical. Only time will tell if the law really does put a burden on voters that critics say will be impacted. One primary is not enough to to judge the full effect of the law.

    1. Svelaz: Sorry you were among the few who were duped by the hoax. Clearly the law wasn’t seen as a burden to all the people who were able to easily vote — in far greater numbers than previously. When your side is exposed as a power-hungry snake oil salesman, time to stop the lame apologetics and show some integrity. But then, you wouldn’t be a real Democrat.

  12. Flatout lying again, eh Joe, you old dog-faced pony soldier. Nevertheless, Joey persisted. Now he tells us that he was ‘sort of raised’ in a Puerto Rican ‘hood, politically. Whatever the h*ll that means. Wake up America and smell the potpourri wafting from the Biden administration. Oh wait, that’s not potpourri, is it?

  13. I remember the outrage and anger from the left.

    Just reinforces the belief that the left, the media, and the woke establishment are untrustworthy drama queens.

    Yet the accusation did its work; many Americans believe that Georgia is a Jim Crow society.

        1. In fact those two comments are really one and the same. “Georgia Democrats have a nasty history of applying Jim Crow laws.”

        2. You’re so right; the Naturalization Act of 1802 was in full force and effect on January 1, 1863.

          There should never have been segregation subsequent to the compassionate repatriation compelled by extant immigration law.

          Lincoln taught Americans to disobey the laws they don’t like, and obey the ones they do.

      1. “Well, Georgia DOES Democrats have a nasty history of applying Jim Crow laws. It’s famous for that.”

        Democrats formed the KKK as their private police force, enforcers, to keep the Negro in their place. Since the Democrats have become more sophisticated and just took over the FBI to carry out the functions of the modern day secret police.

        1. “Well, Georgia DOES Democrats have a nasty history of applying Jim Crow laws. It’s famous for that.”

          Democrats formed the KKK as their private police force, enforcers, to keep the *egr* in their place. Since the Democrats have become more sophisticated and just took over the FBI to carry out the functions of the modern day secret police.

          My post got tossed into moderation because I used a term that must be banned. Strange, The word of proudly used by a charity that gants scholarships. They are the, UNCF, United N****college fund.

  14. What a shock! (Sarcasm). Republicans don’t want people to vote…at least certain people..

    1. You are mis-informed.
      Minorities of all kinds are seeing the insanity of wokeness the Democrat party has embraced and those minorities are rejecting it.
      As the good professor noted,
      “According to the secretary of state’s office, 1.9 million eligible voters participated in the 2022 primary contest compared to 1.2 million in 2018. Moreover, African-American turnout was 22% higher than any other primary election except for the 2020 presidential primary.”

    2. @Justice Holmes: You absolutely hit the nail on the head. Wall done! As a Republication there certainly are certain people I don’t want to vote: the dead, someone who has already legally voted, people who are statutorily prohibited, people attempting to vote while not legally permitted to do so, and people who are in the country illegally (note: this list is not exhaustive) There are also certain people whom I do not want to act upon (collect, fill, correct, deliver, etc.) ballots unless under the direction of a duly passed and enacted state law: anyone. Lastly, there are certain people who are Constitutionally allowed to alter their state’s election laws: the state’s legislature. The executive branch do not have that authority. The judicial branch only has the authority to determine the constitutionality of the laws, not produce them.

      What a shock! (/sarc) that a leftists doesn’t comprehend such basic tenants of our society.

      Beyond that, there are also certain people whom I do want to vote: anyone legally entitled to do so — provided they cast their ballot as proscribed and in a timely manner.

  15. “That includes Major League Baseball, which boycotted Georgia over a law now declared constitutional.” This action by Major League Baseball just shows that there was no intelligence used when making that decision, it was strictly pandering to the loud minority of woke people who have the over-inflated support of a partisan media industry. Talk about mis-information. Most of those watching main stream news do not know or care that they are held captive by lies meant to control their behavior. I am certain stacey abrams will continue with her screed, it’s really all that she has to offer – click bait for the sheeple trained to be discontented.

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