I have long been a critic of the concerted efforts of Democratic politicians and the establishment to rig the primary for Hillary Clinton. It worked. They selected perhaps the only person who could lose to Donald Trump. For that reason, I immediately took note of articles claiming that a federal court have made a finding of rigging by former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman. The Observer, for example, had an headline of “Court Admits DNC and Wasserman Schultz Rigged Primary Against Sanders.” That seemed like a particularly important news development but on closer examination it is based on a misunderstanding of the federal procedural rules governing such decisions.
In June 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against the DNC and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for violating the DNC Charter by rigging the Democratic presidential primaries for Hillary Clinton. From the outset, it was a highly unlikely legal action to succeed despite admissions from Democratic leaders that Clinton was virtually annointed by the Democratic establishment. With regard to blocking Sanders, former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted in July 2016, “I knew—everybody knew—that this was not a fair deal.” Not only that, but DNC lawyers took the position that the Democratic leaders at the DNC were allowed to effectively stack the primary for Clinton.
The inevitable occurred on August 25, 2017 when Federal Judge William Zloch, dismissed the lawsuit in a decision that had this line:
“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.”
Since this was a motion for dismissal on standing and other grounds, a court will assume all facts in favor of the non-moving party. In other words, a court will say that “even if you were to prove all of these allegations, you would still not have a case.” Thus, the key in the above referenced line is “in evaluating Plaintiffs’ claims at this stage.” The Court was not making a finding of fact that indeed the DNC rigged the primary.
For that reason the following graph seems like a final vindication but was really setting up the parties for a death blow:
“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 publically proclaiming they were completely neutral, fair, and impartial. This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction.”
The Court was saying that, even if it accepted all of these allegations are provable and proven, the plaintiffs would still lose.
Of course, the evidence is quite strong (including emails from both Wasserman Schultz and her successor Donna Brazile) that the DNC did rig the primary. It was obvious that the Democratic members of Congress and others were in the bag for Clinton and actively strangling the political life out of challengers. Everyone expected a huge windfall once the Clintons re-took power. However, the story racing on the Internet of a judicial finding is not accurate.