May 26th, 2008
06:10 PM ET
10 years ago

Protest planned before hearing in Florida lawsuit

(CNN) – Victor DiMaio, the plaintiff in a refiled lawsuit aimed at forcing the DNC to seat Florida’s delegates to the Democratic convention, has announced that a protest will be held in Tampa, Florida on the eve of the hearing in his case.

The “lawsuit was filed long before the first vote was ever cast or counted,” DiMaio said in a statement released Monday. “How do you ignore the fourth largest state in the nation and millions of Florida voters who exercised their right to vote?,” he added.

The dismissal of Dimaio’s original suit was upheld by a federal appeals court in March but the court stated that the suit could be refiled if the defects it had identified were fixed.

In early April, DiMaio refiled in Tampa federal trial court. The new suit alleges that the DNC discriminated on the basis of race and national origin in violation of federal law. In particular, DiMaio contends that the DNC allowed Nevada and South Carolina to hold their presidential primaries prior to February 5 because of significant minority populations in both states.

A hearing is set for Wednesday in DiMaio’s case. In papers filed with the Tampa federal trial court in preparation for the hearing, the DNC countered that its rule on scheduling primaries does not amount to discrimination on the basis of race or national origin and does not discriminate against any individual voter or against the voters as a whole in any state.

The DNC also said that national political parties have a constitutional right under the First Amendment to determine how delegates are selected to their nominating conventions.