The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the American way of
life and revolutionized the way we vote. Record voter turnout in
2020, including among first-time voters and voters of color, was
met with unprecedented legal challenges seeking to nullify
millions of votes. A coordinated effort to amplify groundless
accusations of voting fraud, shorthanded as “the Big Lie,” was
advanced in multiple states through scores of lawsuits.
Although the cases themselves were dismissed as lacking merit
and as failing to state actionable claims, their impact upon
public confidence in free and fair elections was palpable and
the resources of the courts and defending parties were severely
taxed. As a self-regulating profession, lawyers and courts have
both the tools and the duty to hold litigants and their counsel
accountable for unethical and unfounded attacks on votes after
they have been cast. Rule 11 sanctions, statutory remedies, and
other consequences must be employed when litigants baselessly
challenge election results, or the courts will find themselves
regularly enlisted in efforts to confer false legitimacy on
misinformation campaigns. Firm, fair accountability in the
present is crucial to deter those who would use litigation to
poison the democratic well in the future.
Lewis, Joyce G. and Sparks, Adam M.
"In Defense of the Foundation Stone: Deterring Post-Election Abuse of the Legal Process,"
Georgia Law Review: Vol. 55:
4, Article 7.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.law.uga.edu/glr/vol55/iss4/7