The Washington Post trumpeted the news: “Florida judge dismisses fraud lawsuit against DNC,” read the Aug. 25 headline.
“To the extent Plaintiffs wish to air their general grievances with the DNC or its candidate selection process, their redress is through the ballot box, the DNC’s internal workings, or their right of free speech — not through the judiciary,” Judge William Zloch, a Reagan appointee, wrote in his dismissal of the class-action lawsuit. “To the extent Plaintiffs have asserted specific causes of action grounded in specific factual allegations, it is this Court’s emphatic duty to measure Plaintiffs’ pleadings against existing legal standards. Having done so … the Court finds that the named Plaintiffs have not presented a case that is cognizable in federal court.”
Ah, but there was something more going on in the case.
The suit was filed in July 2016 by two Florida lawyers, Jared and Elizabeth Beck, who claimed a massive trove of hacked (or leaked) emails showed that the Democratic National Committee and Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz had secretly greased the skids for Hillary Clinton and actively worked to defeat her top challenger, Sen. Bernie Sanders.
But here’s a fascinating section in the ruling, where the judge flat out says the DNC can — and did — rig its own nomination.
“In evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage, the Court assumes their allegations are true — that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz held a palpable bias in favor Clinton and sought to propel her ahead of her Democratic opponent,” he wrote.
“The Court thus assumes that the DNC and Wasserman Schultz preferred Hillary Clinton as the Democratic candidate for president over Bernie Sanders or any other Democratic candidate. It assumes that they stockpiled information useful to the Clinton campaign. It assumes that they devoted their resources to assist Clinton in securing the party’s nomination and opposing other Democratic candidates. And it assumes that they engaged in these surreptitious acts while publicly proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction,” Zloch wrote.
But that didn’t affect the merits of the case as to whether the two lawyers had standing to sue.
“The Court must now decide whether Plaintiffs have suffered a concrete injury particularized to them, or one certainly impending, that is traceable to the DNC and its former chair’s conduct — the keys to entering federal court. The Court holds that they have not.”
The Observer quoted Jared Beck, “one of the leading attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit,” who explained how a “motion to dismiss” works.
“The standard governing the motion to dismiss requires the court to accept all well-pled allegations as true for purposes of deciding the motion. Thus, the court recited the allegations of the Complaint that it was required to accept as true, and in so doing, acknowledged that the allegations were well pled. Indeed, if you look at the … Complaint, you will see that all of these allegations accepted by the Court specifically rely on cite materials that are readily available in the public record, and they support the inference that the DNC and the DWS rigged the primaries.”
And there’s the crux: the court “acknowledged that the allegation were well pled.”
And our guess is that the plaintiffs got exactly what they wanted — a concession by a court that the DNC, led by Wasserman Schultz, did in fact stack the deck in favor of Hillary.