Cobb County attorneys have filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit filed by Larry Savage and Commissioner Keli Gambrill challenging the legality of the county’s electoral map.
The county’s legal team argues in the motion that Cobb and its Board of Elections cannot be sued in the same lawsuit, citing a March Georgia Supreme Court ruling on sovereign immunity, which limits how government entities and officials can be sued.
That ruling, the State v. SASS Group LLC, found that a lawsuit brought against the government violates sovereign immunity if it targets more than one government agency, according to the motion. In this case, because the suit was brought against Cobb County and its Board of Elections, the county attorneys argue it must be dismissed.
The county has been operating in an uncertain legal limbo under its amended map, which has caused no shortage of contention among state officials, county commissioners and residents alike.
The lawsuit challenging the legality of the map was originally filed in December 2022, two months after the Cobb Commission split along party lines to change its map and preserve Commissioner Jerica Richardson’s seat.
The suit was then withdrawn on a procedural technicality and refiled, this time by Commissioner Keli Gambrill.
County Attorney Bill Rowling has stood behind the argument that the home rule provision of the state constitution gives counties the power to draw their own district lines.
State lawmakers, the attorney general and the commission’s two Republican members have decried the move as unconstitutional. But until a judge determines otherwise, the county is operating under its amended map.
If the county’s motion is granted, the lawsuit would have to be filed a third time to bring the issue up again in Cobb County Superior Court Judge Ann Harris’ courtroom. The first hearing is currently scheduled for May 3, 2023, but could be rescheduled.
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