In June 2016, a class action lawsuit was filed against the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and former DNC Chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz for violating the DNC Charter by rigging the Democratic presidential primaries for Hillary Clinton against Bernie Sanders. Even former Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid admitted in July 2016, “I knew—everybody knew—that this was not a fair deal.” He added that Debbie Wasserman Schultz should have resigned much sooner than she did. The lawsuit was filed to push the DNC to admit their wrongdoing and provide Bernie Sanders supporters, who supported him financially with millions of dollars in campaign contributions, with restitution for being cheated.
On August 25, 2017, Federal Judge William Zloch, dismissed the lawsuit after several months of litigation during which DNC attorneys argued that the DNC would be well within their rights to select their own candidate. “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,” the court order dismissing the lawsuit stated. This assumption of a plaintiff’s allegation is the general legal standard in the motion to dismiss stage of any lawsuit. The allegations contained in the complaint must be taken as true unless they are merely conclusory allegations or are invalid on their face.
The order then explained why the lawsuit would be dismissed. “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 Court added that it did not consider this within its jurisdiction. “Federal courts are courts of limited jurisdiction, possessing ‘only that power authorized by Constitution and statute.'”
The Court continued, “For their part, the DNC and Wasserman Schultz have characterized the DNC charter’s promise of ‘impartiality and evenhandedness’ as a mere political promise—political rhetoric that is not enforceable in federal courts. The Court does not accept this trivialization of the DNC’s governing principles. While it may be true in the abstract that the DNC has the right to have its delegates ‘go into back rooms like they used to and smoke cigars and pick the candidate that way,’ the DNC, through its charter, has committed itself to a higher principle.”
The order reaffirmed that regardless of whether the primaries were tipped in Hilary Clinton’s favor, the Court’s authority to intervene based on the allegations of the kind set forth in the plaintiff’s complaint is limited at best.
“This Order therefore concerns only technical matters of pleading and subject-matter jurisdiction.”
Jared Beck, one of the leading attorneys representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit told The Observer, “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 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.”
This article was updated on August 29, 2017.