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. MI Girl

    This party is so missed up now, I'm rethinking my affliction with them! The Dems. have a whacky primary system. They just need to clean it up and make it as simple, transparent and straightforward as possible to eliminate these kinds of issues. First, get rid of the supers, have winner take all states, count all votes including those in causus states or just abolish caususes all together, only use primaries. There is usually higher turnouts in primaries, polls are open longer to accommodate citizens work schedules and everyone gets one vote.

    May 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  2. Michael

    Split the FL and MI delegates 50/50.

    If the Hillary supporters dont like it, tough cookies you crybabies.

    Obama 2008

    May 22, 2008 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  3. SAM2008

    McCain 08, you have no idea what is going on behind close doors, you vote for speeches not for action, you vote because others tell you to vote the way you are voting will put McCain in office and you mark my words in this, and trust me i will remind you with this.
    then i will laugh at you.

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

    This whole process is indicative of what a Hillary presidency will be like and is why I would never vote for her. The stone-walling, reveral of position, dishonesty, and general caustic nature of her and her crew are unbearable. She is very Bush-like in the way she is always fighting. At the end of the day there is no way she can get the nomination, and if she was to somehow steal it through all of this brokering, there is no way any Obama supporter or independent would ever think it was anything other than a scam and a fix. I cannot imagine seeing her on TV every night for the next 4 years, it is beyond imagining.

    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  5. Hillary Math

    So I guess I understand

    Count Florida and Michigan (even though you yourself said they shouldn't count) count Puerto Rico (even though they can't vote in the general), through out Nevada, Iowa, Miane and Washington (inpite of your stronly held belief that "all" votes should count) then choose the winner based on "popular vote" instead of delegates.

    Makes perfect since to me.

    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  6. Brad from SC



    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |

    ashamed to be a democrat, we fight ourselves, supporters behave childish on the blogs, Hilary fights like a kid that can't get a doll, what is all this.

    I am switching parties to become an independent. Tired of all this fighting. If I can't have it the other person cannot. Talk of uinty!!

    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  8. shirley

    Due to Hillary's encouragement to get 'every vote counted'. She wasn't singing this tune until she fell behind, shame on the public for allowing Hillary to use them this way. The super delegates must be planning behind closed doors to give Hillary the nomination or they would have put a stop to this as soon as Obama had the majority.

    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  9. KE

    Hillary represents all America.
    I believe Hillary is the only candidate appeals to a wider coalition and could win in November. Even with African Americans she has key people supporting her. The Middle America has spoken and the Michigan and Florida should be counted.

    May 22, 2008 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  10. Rob


    It's not a national election, it's a party election. You can't sue to get the rules of your own party overturned. Especially when your doing it because you broke those rules.

    This is simply a matter of those responsible for breaking the rules attempting to deflect the blame for losing their delegates. They know the lawsuit will not win but it muddies the waters – they're looking out for their own behinds.

    May 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  11. Debra Austin, Texas

    Florida, it the problem education? I can't understand why so many Floridians just don't know how to establish a process that is fair and how to either submit a ballot or count a ballot. Are the Democratic legislators that voted with the Republicans to go forward with the date that violated DNC rules 'insane'? Did they want to cause confusion? Was this a ploy? But the tale that it was only the Republicans that set this date is a lie and Sen. Nelson ought to get his facts right. It's one thing to be a crony of the liar Hillary Clinton, it's another to never want to look in the mirror and see yourself for what you are.

    Maybe we ought to find 'helpers' for the state to figure out how to govern as well. What a sorry state?

    May 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  12. Just Plain Tired

    Okay, I'm sure when the DNC created these rules they never anticipated another republican getting in the way of an election. Florida needs divine intervention to thwart their republican leadership. Michigan, well they just messed up. As for Hillary Clinton, she fights like any dirty fighting male politician, and she does so irrationally. Look at the men running her campaign. God, are they the "Stepford Husbands." Anyone who argues with the logic that these Clinton supporters do should make us all stop and think. The bottom line is the two states broke the rules, no matter how ridiculous the rule has turned out to be. The Clinton campaign shoud stop treating people like borderline intellectuals. If the tables were turned, I shutter to think the tactics she would employ to keep Obama from succeeding with the same argument. This is not about gender, it's about Big Mama Hillary and her pouting husband. She'll go down in history more infamous than famous. I wouldn't vote for her now on the ticket in any position. She can't cry "Foul, I'm a woman." when it suits her. I'm a woman, and even I won't vote for her.

    May 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  13. Mark Johnson

    Zero integrity. A plus in Florida apparently.

    May 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  14. They WILL be seated!

    This is so rediculous. The DNC could draw a name out of a hat if they wanted to. There is no LEGAL issues here. Hillary is not being PREVENTED from running in the General Election is she wants to.

    The only thing this whole process is doing, is allowing one candidate to put the words "Democratic Nominee" by their name on the November Ballot.

    And besides....this issue is already scheduled to be resolved on May 31st!!! Why file lawsuits when it's already scheduled to be decided???!!!!

    Absolute absurdity...

    May 22, 2008 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  15. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    There needs to be some penalty for not playing by the rules. I would hope that the Florida delegation would understand that. If these people would have been smart, they would have been working since they found out to have either moved the date of the vote or to do some revote to keep all the delegates. Why did it appear that there wasn't a consistant effort to get Florida (and Michigan) resolved before the Rules Committee met?

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

    Democratic, why and how you deny the achievements we had with President Clinton eight years term? You compare the first and the second Bush administration with President Clinton administration and see the difference.
    Think about the next nominee that have to represent us and you will come up with the answer that we need a second Clinton Presidency to try to adjust the mess we are in.

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

    The lawsuit makes no sense. The democratic party is a private organization that can elect officials any way they want to. I don't agree that they should block states from participating, but legally, they can pick whatever rules they want to.

    People in Florida – If you don't like the way things went down, then vote your officials out of office.

    May 22, 2008 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  18. Alex in TX

    I find it ironically amusing that Hillary supporters have no problem discriminating against those who didn't cast who would have otherwise but didn't knowing it wouldn't count.

    Another thing...everyone posting on here saying that this violates voters rights needs to get educated on the election process and the difference between a party sponsored nomination process versus a presidential election.

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

    I agree its not fair to count the Jan MI and FL votes. Well, Clinton offered for a revote in MI and FL. Obama was the one who refused so shouldnt he pay a price for it? It should be counted 100% . Please understand Obama is not a saint in any way ( great politician).

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

    This is simple.

    If this happened in, say, Illinois and Wisconsin, the Obama Cult would be up in arms, outraged.

    Why? Because it's outrageous not to include two huge states in this election. And it would help Hillary a lot (despite the momentum she would've received a few months ago being forever gone).

    Suck it up, Obama-ites, it's not fair for your candidate to steal an election, just as it was for Bush to do that.

    May 22, 2008 04:23 pm at 4:23 pm |
  21. jonie

    Howard Dean spoke recently that there are rules and they won't be broken. Florida and Michigan knew these rules, when they went ahead and held their primaries too early, and their votes wouldn't count!
    The party gets to make the rules, the candidates agreed to abide by the rules, end of story. This is yet another symptom of the 'the rules don't apply to me' syndrome that has infected this country.
    Why bother making rules if they are not going to be inforced? This irks me. Hillary is trying to break the rules, because she is desperate now, and behind in the polls. If she were ahead, you can bet that she would NOT be pushing for those votes to be counted!
    What is going on in this country of ours? This ridiculous campaign has gone on much too long and the public is getting so tired of it, and all the media hype too. The news people make things worse, by their jibber-jabber every single day!

    May 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  22. Alex in TX

    Sorry...this is a bit of a ripoff but I think it is funny....

    If all the delegates from the great State of Denial were seated, this nomination would have been wrapped up long ago.

    May 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  23. Ken C

    The only reason Hillary wants to become commander-in-chief, so she can have her female security team keep Bill from smelling the "Flowers" and playing leap-frog with the ladies. Just like any jumping contest, he must complete all jumps, or he could end up "face-first". Speaking of "Face", hillary must face the facts! She is toast, stick a fork in her

    May 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  24. Sandy

    Hillary is a sore can you agree with the rules then turn around and brake the rules? This argument should have been battled long before this election.

    May 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
  25. supporter

    Notice how the Obama supporters are so against this?
    Do they know how things could turn out come this fall with these two States For Obama?
    I don't support Obama but this white cracker even knows how important it is to suck up right now even if I did hate these two states, Obama even knows this, but then again he is good at using people for political gain. ( no disrespect meant)

    May 22, 2008 04:24 pm at 4:24 pm |
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