by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It’s not every day that a federal judge calls a lawsuit from one of the country’s top lawyers a nasty and partisan “Hail Mary pass” intended to undermine free and fair elections. But that’s what happened on Wednesday when U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan, a Clinton appointee, tossed out a lawsuit brought by Democratic superlawyer Marc Elias.
“In the 102 years since my father, then a Ukrainian refugee, came into this country, if there were two things that he drilled into my head, they were … free, open, rational elections [and] respect for the courts. The relief that I’m being asked to give today impinges, to some degree, on the public perception of both,” Kaplan said of the lawsuit, which sought to preserve redistricting lines in New York state that a court had already ruled unconstitutional. “And I’m not going to do that.”
It’s been a rough month for Elias, the man former president Barack Obama tapped to lead his post-presidential initiative to expand “voting rights” and the Democratic Party’s premier legal attack dog. Just last week, Special Counsel John Durham accused Elias, who represented Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign—and who every election cycle counts virtually every powerful Democrat as a client—of lying about his relationship with the opposition research firm he retained to assist that campaign.
In an attempt to shield communications between Fusion GPS and Rodney Joffe, a firm client hawking Russian collusion theories, Elias told Durham that he retained Fusion to support his legal work—and that, as a result, it is subject to attorney-client privilege. Durham was not having it: “The factual record and Fusion GPS’s own communications raise serious questions about this depiction,” he wrote.
Elias’s tactics are now drawing rebukes from judges, prosecutors, and even fellow Democrats, who say his hard-charging nature is hurting the party. Elias is publicly reeling.