A federal judge this past Thursday ruled out the most recent pair of lawsuits from conservative groups that are hoping to force the State Department to continue its search for Hillary Clinton‘s emails.
In a new 26-page ruling, U.S. District Judge James Boasberg claimed that the FBI had already “pursued every imaginable avenue to recover the missing emails” from Clinton’s time as a secretary of State, and that there was no evidence to show that any additional search efforts would uncover the missing information.
“The Court of Appeals may have asked the Government to shake the tree harder ror more emails, but it never suggested that the FBI must shake every tree in every forest, without knowing whether they are fruit trees,” Boasberg wrote.
While Clinton’s emails have long become infamous and the subject of numerous Freedom of Information Act requests, the most recent pair of lawsuits filed by the conservative groups Judicial Watch and Cause of Action Institute chose to take a slightly different legal route.
The lawsuits aimed to require the State Department and National Archives to team up with the attorney general to search for the missing emails under the Federal Records Act, which governs the “creation, management and disposal of federal records.”
Boasberg’s ruling on Thursday was the second time he has ruled out the lawsuits. After issuing a ruling as far back as last year, a panel of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals revived the lawsuits, claiming that the State Department had not done enough to recover Clinton’s emails.
Boasberg’s latest ruling states that the FBI had already provided more thorough details during their efforts to find the emails:
“Plaintiffs, significantly, cast no real doubt on that conclusion,” he wrote. “So now, when the Government avers that there are no enforcement steps left for the Attorney General, the Court takes such conclusion seriously.”