Adding to a string of defeats in the pro-Trump lawyer’s recent election legal blitz, attorney Lin Wood lost another round in federal court on Friday in a case about the rules governing Georgia’s 2021 U.S. Senate runoffs.
A prolific participant in election-challenging lawsuits after the 2020 presidential election, Wood has been associated with efforts to topple election results in Michigan, Wisconsin, Arizona and Georgia, where the state bar is currently investigating whether he is fit to practice law.
All of those lawsuits, plus his challenge to the Senate runoff voting procedures, failed in spectacular fashion — leaving him fighting for his law license in two of those states. The latest judicial defeat, courtesy of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, adds to that record.
Late last year, a federal judge in Georgia rejected what he called Wood’s “creative” effort to block certification of President Joe Biden’s victory; another booted what he called an “astonishingly speculative” challenge against the rules for the Senate runoffs ultimately won by Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff.
Some eight months after that election, the 11th Circuit affirmed the lower court’s dismissal.
“Wood is without Article III standing to make the claims he asserts in this action,” the eight-page per curiam order states.
Filed on Dec. 18, 2020 in U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Wood’s petition alleged that Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) and the state election board ran afoul of both Peach State law and the U.S. Constitution when Raffensperger settled a prior lawsuit over the use of signature verification procedures used for mail-in ballots.
“[U]nder the Litigation Settlement, the Administrators agreed to change the statutorily prescribed process of handling absentee ballots in a manner that was not consistent with the laws promulgated by the Georgia Legislature,” Wood’s original petition argued.
“This unconstitutional change in Georgia election law made it more likely that ballots without matching signatures would be counted and had a material impact on the Defendants’ final vote count, diluting Plaintiff’s right to vote, to the detriment of the Republican candidates,” Wood alleged, later in the petition. “Indeed, the Litigation Settlement led to a marked decrease in challenged signatures and the rate of rejection of absentee ballots dropped dramatically in the presidential election, and the same will occur in the United States Senate election runoff unless this Court intervenes.”
A federal judge previously rejected the same argument in an earlier election case brought by Wood late last year.
“Recognizing that Secretary Raffensperger is ‘the state’s chief election official,’ the General Assembly enacted legislation permitting him (in his official capacity) to ‘formulate, adopt, and promulgate such rules and regulations, consistent with law, as will be conducive to the fair, legal, and orderly conduct of primaries and elections,” U.S. District Judge Steven Grimberg noted while dismissing the earlier case on Nov. 20. “The Settlement Agreement is a manifestation of Secretary Raffensperger’s statutorily granted authority.”
Wood’s second bite at that apple didn’t fare any better before U.S. District Judge Timothy C. Batten — but for different reasons.
“Wood attempts to show that fraud is certain to occur during the runoff by arguing that the November 3 general election was rife with fraud,” the judge noted. “However, even if that were the case, the alleged presence of harm during the general election does not increase the likelihood of harm during the runoff. And claims of election fraud are especially speculative where they rely upon the future activity of independent actors.”
“Insufficient Generalized Grievance”
Back in November, Judge Batten ultimately dismissed Wood’s complaint due to lack of standing because the alleged harms he argued did “not conclusively demonstrate a future injury.” Therefore, Batten ruled the court had no jurisdiction to hear the controversy in the first place.
In dismissing Wood’s lawsuit, the three-judge appellate panel referenced their own previous dismissal of a similar claim.
From the ruling, at length:
In a recent case involving similar claims brought by Wood, our Court applied this framework to hold that Wood lacked standing to bring his claims. In that case, Wood alleged that Georgia’s absentee-ballot and recount procedures used in the 2020 election violated his constitutional rights. He therefore sought to “enjoin certification of the general election results, to secure a new recount under different rules, and to establish new rules for an upcoming runoff election.” The Court noted that Wood’s alleged “injury to the right ‘to require that the government be administered according to the law’” was an insufficient generalized grievance. And although Wood argued that “the inclusion of unlawfully processed absentee ballots diluted the weight of his vote” and that Georgia “valued” and “favored” in-person votes less than absentee votes, the Court held that neither injury was particularized and thus could not support standing. While the Court recognized vote dilution can be a particularized injury, Wood’s claim of vote dilution was an insufficient generalized grievance because any vote dilution had a proportional effect on every vote and thus “no single voter [was] specifically disadvantaged.”
“Here, just like in his recent case, Wood lacked Article III standing to bring each of his three claims,” the appeals court notes.
In terms of his equal protection claim, the judges explain, Wood’s argument lacks particularity and fails to show how the signature matching compromise “specifically disadvantaged” his own vote or how any of the alleged harms affected him “as an individual.”
“Turning to Wood’s due process and Guarantee Clause claims, we note that he has failed to raise any arguments in support of his standing to bring those claims,” the court tidily notes. “Rather, all of his arguments in support of standing address his equal protection claim. Under our precedent, he has therefore abandoned his due process and Guarantee Clause claims on appeal. But even if his claims were not abandoned, Wood lacked standing to bring them.”
“One Law License on One Grain of Sand”
Earlier this year, Wood publicized a once-confidential inquiry from the State Bar of Georgia that cited his failed post-election legal offensive to question his fitness to practice law. Among other things, the bar wanted him to undergo a mental health examination.
Wood had asked Judge Batten, the same judge who booted his challenge to the Senate runoffs, to block the state bar’s inquiry. Batten refused.
When pressed about his losing record in court, Wood frequently pleads persecution and insults his perceived antagonists. He responded to Law&Crime’s request for comment with ad hominem.
“Howdy, Propagandist,” he emailed a reporter.
“I do not comment to propagandist rags like Law&Crime,” he further commented.
In Michigan, the city of Detroit has requested disbarment referrals for Wood and other lawyers they say were associated with the so-called “Kraken” team that alleged an international conspiracy against former President Donald Trump.
Wood recently claimed to be at peace with the threats against his law license on Telegram, the encrypted social media platform he turned to after being booted from Twitter.
“It is one law license on one grain of sand,” Wood philosophized to his hundreds of thousands of followers. “Life on Earth is one grain of sand. Eternity is every grain of sand above and below the water of every ocean in the world.”
“So the enemy’s threat to steal my job falls on deaf ears,” Wood continued, adding: “I trust God to meet my needs.”
A ruling on that sanctions motion remains pending.
[image via FREDERIC J. BROWN/AFP via Getty Images]
Have a tip we should know? [email protected]