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. Suju

    Hillary is pathetic ! How can any self-respecting person fall so low?
    Worst – her supporters dont see this !

    May 22, 2008 04:12 pm at 4:12 pm |
  2. Mark

    What ever happened to the good old days if you break a law or a rule you suffer the out come. Well it seems Fla and Mi are suffering and screaming because there voice might not be heard but whos fault is that THERE OWN so now they have filed a lawsuit oh my god now we can sue to be president and Hillary isnt saying nothing about how wrong this action is man this is crazy. Im just glad the clock keeps turning and the days roll on by

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  3. Paulinus

    Hillary should have gone up as an independant now that she is destroying the Democratic Party. She does not care a dam with $109Million.

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  4. Dan (TX)

    Guess they didn't want to wait for the "due process" by the Bylaws Committee on 31 May.

    They violated their own party's rules – there's no federal law that gives anyone the right to overturn a political party's internal rules and regulations.

    What a bunch of cry-babies.

    Hey Florida – you all screwed up 2008. Maybe you should start your 2012 primary season today – that way you'll be the first!? 🙂

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  5. AJ, IL

    Brilliant folks there in Florida! {MAJOR SARCASM!}

    If the Florida party could not afford to have a re-vote of the primary, now they are saying they can afford to go court? Where is this court money going to come from?

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  6. Alice

    If ever there was a frivolous lawsuit – brought solely to rile people up and pressure the politicos – it is this one.

    Notice how they waited to file it until the eleventh hour, so it will still be pending when the DNC meets on May 31st.

    Trust me, the judge will throw it out of court as soon as the parties have a chance to brief, and the judge has a chance to read, motion to dismiss papers. (Normally a several week process at the least.)

    Alternatively, the judge will dismiss it as moot once the DNC meets on May 31st.

    (Yes, I am a lawyer.)

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  7. Mish

    David Axelrod Obamas campaign manager is brilliant
    Get your lawyers ready David you may need them Sir with scabs like the Clintons!!
    God help americans if she steals this election with underhanded tactics
    No wonder more people every day are losing respect for them
    Her whole campain has been a disaster
    In debt 20 million.God help Americans with this loser as leader
    She cant even manage her campain how can she fix the economy!!!
    She would be too busy gazing at herself in the mirror saying*I am the most powerful woman(oops loser) in the world
    Dont listen to the republican pundits they FEAR Obama!!!!!
    and to David Ghergen who hoped she would take the high road...sorry Sir HILLARY doesnt *know* the meaning of the high road you know
    Honesty and IIntegrity!

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  8. Venus

    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.
    ________________________________ YES! This is great news!

    Go Bam!

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  9. Vivienne

    Hillary is trying to get the nomination through any means necessary. But, she will lose the black vote not only for the president but for every democrat who runs for office in this country. You can't win an election any major election in this country without the black vote and you surely can't win an election in this country if the black vote goes to your oponent as a protest.

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  10. Sherri for Obama

    I love how everyone wants to sue when the results don't go their way. They made their choice, they knew the outcome based on their choice and did it anyway. It's no different than a teenager acting out knowing what will happen once they return home to face the music. Come on people! Let's move on!

    May 22, 2008 04:13 pm at 4:13 pm |
  11. Ann Tennis

    The players on the field and in the game do not get to make up
    the rules of the game.

    If you cannot play by the rules of the game, don't get in it.

    You cannot go crying to the Refs in the 4th quarter when you
    suddenly realize you are behind.

    (Oh, well, yes you can, but it will not matter a bit! The score remains
    the same at the end of the game!)

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  12. Nick - Arlington, VA

    "Sad Day for America" – did you forget that your candidate and her campaign agreed to those rules to strip MI and KNEW that the votes wouldn't be counted....can't you objectively say that she is being politically expedient....

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  13. elm, Georgia


    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  14. Chris, Middletown, CT

    lets see....there was no campaigning...the voters were told the votes wouldn't many stayed home...FL and MI broke the rules knowing there votes wouldn't be counted....and all the candidates agreed to is behind...(and she signed this same agreement) – and is making a legal case for it...seems logical....(keep in mind HRC are backing this mess)

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  15. KE

    Leaders make mistakes and people pay the price. We cannot afford keep paying for the mistakes of the party leaders and the political pundits.

    Obama says to Oregon crowd "We can't drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our home on 72 degrees at all times and just expect that every other country is going to say okay."

    I wonder what countries are going to give permission and tell American people they can't drive SUVs and can't eat as much as they want after all the hard work builiding thier life? Obama must been preaching to himsel.

    This is not a new propaganda. This kind ot propaganda was created by very few people who also live happen to be living in the big mansions and have big bank accounts in various countries and they drive SUVs too.

    Sometimes I wonder why Obama wants to be a president so quickly. He said he wants to change America and that's on thing we know that.

    Why the Obama campaign don't want to count all the votes? Hillary has the majority, a simple math any ten years old can understand.

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  16. Sarah

    Impeach Clinton from the Senate!

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  17. Roger MD

    This desperate attempt – and don't think for a New York second it's Hillary's last attack – makes me sick and SHOULD MAKE THE UNCOMMITTED SUPER-DELEGATES SICK. SUPERS- STEP UP AND END THIS NOW!

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  18. Obama broke DNC rules

    When both candidates were told not to campaign in Florida, Obama slyly bought national ads right before Florida primary so they could air in Florida, then said, he couldn't remove Florida from these national ads..technical error? Not. Very slick. Too bad we are not very stupid. What did the DNC do about that?

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  19. Hillaryarious

    This is the BEST!! The Democratic party is destroying itself and we get a ringside seat. This will go to the convention and, I promise you, BEYOND. If Hillary doesn't get the nomination I GUARANTEE she will start law suits against the DNC. McCain will walk into the White House (thank God) and the Democrats will have no one to blame but themselves. BEAUTIFUL!!!

    May 22, 2008 04:14 pm at 4:14 pm |
  20. joann

    You idiots they signed and agreed "not to campaign" there – they were allowed to keep their names on the ballots though – so why do you think Obama kept his name on Florida – and don't forget his choice to take it off Michigan. By the way one of the 3 people filing this suit is an Obama supporter so shut up – you all are whinning more than Obama when he's being a baby. Let it play out – everything being done is perfectly legal.

    May 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  21. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA


    May 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  22. spencer

    The arragance of Obama trying too say Florida and Michigan have no say in the nominating process.... If you not going to count all 50 states, then why bother with having a nominating process at all..Seat them as is...People of all 50 states have earned the right to have there votes count................

    May 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  23. Carter

    As a lawyer I don't quite understand why it is that the Florida Democratic Party does not understand what the courts have told them. The Florida Democratic Party filed a prior law suit that was thrown out by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals, that decided that the Democratic National Committee ("DNC") can implicate rules and regulations to govern its party, and that as such a local party cannot complain about the rules and regulations of the national party, barring exceptional circumstances, i.e. certain particularly declared discrimination. Now, to go back to court, now claiming discrimination along the lines of racial and gender discrimination is obscene. My only questions is that who is at the root of all this?

    Moreover, to compare this current Florida dilemma to that of the 2000 presidential election is disingenuous, because in the 2000 presidential election the Supreme cut off the voting of SOME VOTERS, for no felonious reasons, that had never before been known to the voters, or rather that could not have been known to voters (since such an issue would only arise during a recount). Here, Florida knew the rules and the consequences of violation thereof. Nonetheless, Florida willfully violated those rules. The Florida Democratic Party should be suing the Republican state government for interfering with the Democratic Party rules, but to sue the DNC is crazy. As a result of Florida’s violation of the Democratic National Party’s rules, none of Florida's votes have been counted. Therefore, one Floridian cannot claim to have been aggrieved anymore than another Floridian, i.e. there is no on unequal treatment. The 2000 Presidential campaign and this Democratic National Campaign are apples and oranges. The one irony is that the arguments made by the Republicans to win the presidency, i.e. “Equal Protection,” effectually mirror the arguments of Hillary Clinton, her supporters, her surrogates and the Florida Democratic Party, as both claims focus on equal protection.

    May 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  24. No to Florida

    Do law suit, go to Supreme Court, do what you want.... you did not follow the rules and ur vote doesnt count.... is as easy as this....

    May 22, 2008 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  25. naeem

    Florida needs to get their act together...this is such a shame of the politicians in that state screwing up something so important as the vote...move the date up to make your votes count and in the end..they don't COUNT.....because YET...AGAIN...they go and try and change the RULES..that were in place......

    you pay the penalty for NOT...following the rules...that's a lesson you teach your kids...

    obviously these folks think otherwise...

    May 22, 2008 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
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