May 22nd, 2008
03:00 PM ET
10 years ago

Florida delegates file lawsuit to get delegation seated

A DNC official addressed a crowd gathered at DNC headquarters in later April protesting Florida's situation.

A DNC official addressed a crowd gathered at DNC headquarters in later April protesting Florida's situation.

(CNN) – Three of Florida’s Democratic delegates filed a federal lawsuit Thursday in an attempt to force the Democratic National Committee to seat Florida’s delegation at the convention.

Steven Geller, an uncommitted Florida superdelegate and a Florida state senator; Barbara Effman, a pledged delegate for Sen. Hillary Clinton; and Percy Johnson, a pledged delegate for Sen. Barack Obama, have alleged that the DNC violated their constitutional rights to equal treatment and a fair process by stripping Florida of all of its delegates to the nominating convention because the state held its presidential primary prior to a date specified by the national party.

“This litigation addresses the view of Howard Dean and the Democratic National Committee that 1.75 million Democrats can be ignored at will,” Geller said in a statement released Thursday.

The DNC said the lawsuit had little chance of success. "In two other cases so far, the courts have upheld the Democratic National Committee's right to establish and enforce its own rules regarding the selection of delegates to the Democratic Convention,” said DNC spokesman Dag Vega.

In late March, the federal appeals court in Florida upheld the dismissal of another lawsuit filed in an attempt to force the DNC to seat the Florida delegation.

The Rules and Bylaws Committee of the DNC is set to meet May 31 to hear appeals from Florida and Michigan Democrats to allow the seating of both states’ delegations at the summer convention in Denver.

soundoff (225 Responses)
  1. Another thinking voter, NY

    Why does the DNC decide when a state can hold its election? Let's think about this folks. The states can hold the election, for which the TAXPAYERS FINANCE...whenever they choose. If the DNC where paying for it, that'd be another story. Let them pay for the revote.

    Also, what right do they have to disenfranchise a state from its delegates? Utterly foolish, if not illegal. I'm glad I don't live in FL or MI. I'd be furious. Won't you????

    And the people that say that the voters of those states were "uninformed" are insulting the citizens of those states. Perhaps the people of KY and OR are more informed than the voters of Super Tuesday – Feb 6. Who knew back then about Rv. Wright, $4.00/gallon gas, and the sniper fire of Bosnia?

    Get a grip. The longwinded nomination process is a publicity stunt. The nation should all vote on one day after several, nationally televised debates.

    May 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  2. Lorna, NY

    This is INSANE! Hillary Clinton can kiss her political career goodbye! She has lost the respect of a lot of people. The people in NY will not forget this. She should have been vocal when the DNC issued these sanctions. I have no respect for her or her family. I do not want anyone in the White House who feels that they should get what they want because they feel entitled. Could anyone see her as presidential material?

    May 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  3. Andrew

    Come on, the democrats overwhelmingly voted through the legislation. Clinton has been a lunatic, its not smart to trust her on facts, go and look up the vote on the bill, its on Florida's government website.

    And Sad Day For America – Amen to that. Maybe Floridians should vote the state legislature out for taking that voice away. Stupidity and Overzealousness stole this vote. Self-aggrandizing state politicians took this voice away. The fact that they've screwed up votes in major election cycles when no other state in the union (save Ohio and Michigan) have had this issue is extremely telling. The DNC isn't a babysitter. Follow the rules and get seated. Break them and deal with the consequences. Its really that simple.

    May 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  4. Ralph

    Everyone just relax. They will get seated after the DNC meets 5/31. The delegates will be distributed in the fairest way possible, so they have no meaningful impact on the nomination. Then the candidate with the most delegates, as per the agreed upon rules, will be our nominee, and very likely, our next president. Now, just relax and enjoy the ride.

    May 22, 2008 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  5. Yup

    I'm very glad to see the DNC using leadership. No wonder they always manage to shoot themselves in the foot!

    May 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  6. Disenfranchised Nation

    Dear Big O Lovers,
    Disenfranchising these two states is disenfranchising over 17 million American's who voted. The outcome of these two states changes the parties nominee so why wouldn't this be important to 17 million Democrats? Wake won't get away with another 2000. Even if we have to go up against our own party.

    Hillary 08'
    America's choice

    May 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  7. Tony

    Florida and Texas are the two wierdest states in the country. In world's by themselves. Texas should surprise no one! Florida is a whole other story.

    YIKES! Hope it doesn't spread!

    May 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  8. Paul, CA

    Honestly, the archaic method used by the democrats is both outmoded and distinctly un-democratic. The party leadership behaves like a bunch of spoiled rich kids. Oh wait, they are.

    May 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  9. sandi

    Geraldine Ferro said, "Obama wouldn't be where he is if he were a white man." I say Mrs. Clinton wouldn't care a bit about the Fl/MI votes if she were where he is, and that is the front runner. Stop the madness, accept your loss (graciously) and get on with your life as a Senator Mrs. Clinton.

    sick of trixie hillary

    May 22, 2008 04:10 pm at 4:10 pm |
  10. Edwin, Fayetteville, NC

    If Sen. Clinton and her followers say that they want all the Florida votes to count, they are not telling the truth again (surprise), what about those who did not vote because they were told that their votes would not count? What do they plan to do about them? Are they being told that they don’t matter? Florida should have followed the rules and there would be no argument about seating the delegates. Clinton can’t seem to make up her mind and she is running for President? First they did not count (her words) now she wants them to count (also her words). I would not feel safe with her answering the PHONE at 3 in the morning. She has lost, she and her followers (Bill too) need to get over it and start supporting the true Democratic nominee Sen. Omana.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  11. Tex

    The Clinton campaigners pandering again. What a joke! Bill and Hillary have become the biggest disgraces of modern politics. Perhaps even Bush has more character than these two Clinton yokels. Whine! Whine! Whine!

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  12. Max from NYC


    We, Obama supporters WILL GO TO Washington on May 31 for the DNC commetee to protest against Clinton's !!! We will not allow this sick woman to overturn the will of the voters!!! Let's go there and support Barack against that monster!

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  13. Jim, Minneapolis

    Neither Obama nor Clinton had anything whatsoever to do with this. The Florida Democratic Party is accountable. Nobody else. They decided to hold early primaries, thus breaking DNC rules. We'll Florida, you wanted the spotlight in January. It's all yours now. Eat Crow.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  14. Kevin-Seattle

    Penalize the state 50%...and seat them accordingly.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  15. Michigan Voter

    I am from Michigan and I voted uncommitted because Obama was not listed on the ballot, a lot of other people I know did the same, therefore how do we get our votes counted fairly?

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  16. George in Arizona

    Let the whinning begin !!!!!

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  17. Venus

    Too funny!

    Saw this coming a mile ago!

    Go Bam!

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  18. KenFromCalifornia

    floria, you should hold your state representatives accountable for this. they got jealous and its come back to bite you all. don't blame howard dean, blame the people you elected statewide who claimed they knew what they were doing.

    hillary clinton wants a free ride. it's amazing how someone who professes to be business-like and strong can then go crawling back on her word when she is losing. the rules were clear, and she cared nothing last year about "enfranchisement" of florida's residents when she had all the money and double-digit poll numbers.

    barack obama played by the rules. i doubt he'd be out there complaining if it were he who was behind in delegates, states won, popular vote, likeability, believeability, and national enthusiasm.

    barack played by the rules. if hillary wants to be the poster child of malcom x' ominous words about rules, then let her do so at her still-being-written legacy.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  19. Disenfranchised Nation

    please dont remove my never put mine in which shows that I must be making a very good point.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  20. Yakima

    Hillary you make me sick. If your willing to stoop this low to get elected you can cancel my vote. If you take this away because your losing I will change my party to independent.

    May 22, 2008 04:11 pm at 4:11 pm |
  21. ccooper

    Flordia and Michigan delegates should be seated at the convention.
    Hillary should be the nominee. All of you just fell for a coin man. Obama is more about speech. Obama started all this mess. He need
    to go back to the senate and learn more about foreign policy. He is on
    the wrong track.

    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  22. Maggie VT

    I feel very sorry for the women who Hillary has involved in this mess. They so believe her. McCain will win this presidency thanks to Hillary.

    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  23. Les-Wa

    The DNC resemble commies. Count their votes and SEAT all delegates of Florida and Michigan. I am totally disgusted with the DNC.

    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  24. Black Veteran For Obama


    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  25. Sandro

    Today I had a heated exchange with a co-worker on this very notion of counting FL votes. true, every vote should count. However, it is my humble opinion that paramount to votes is the notion of fair and just nomination process. Votes that are skewed, just like in FL, due to too many voters who did not vote, or due to the fact that candidates did not have a chance to campaign, end up not being at all representative of the FL population. As Americans we always have a judgmental eye towards other countries that do not engage in fair political practices. Thus, we should see the FL connondrum as such: a biased vote sample that should not reflect FL. As such, these votes cannot be counted as such. However, what has to be done is to evaluate the extent to which these votes are skewed, and to seat delegates in proportion to that bias. But that is a tough call as well. Who can be an objective judge of how much should FL votes count? In the end it is my utmoslt beleif that these unrepresentative votes should be counted as a whole. Some kind of correction needs to be applied in order to uphold the notion of fairness and fair game.

    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
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