March 21st, 2008
12:09 PM ET
15 years ago

Appeals court throws out suit on Florida delegates

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="The DNC rendered Florida's January vote meaningless. "]ATLANTA, Georgia (CNN) - A federal appeals court Friday threw out a Florida man's suit over the Democratic National Committee's decision to bar Florida delegates from the party's national convention, saying he had no standing to file suit.

The ruling by the 11th U.S. Court of Appeals affirms a lower court order that found that Victor DiMaio, a Florida resident who sued the Democratic National Committee and the Florida Democratic Party, "undeniably lacks standing to bring this suit ..."

DiMaio claimed that the DNC announced refusal to seat Florida's Democratic delegation because the Florida party violated DNC rules on scheduling its primary violated his constitutional right to equal protection under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.

The Middle District Court of Florida ruled that DiMaio could not file suit under federal rules because his "complaint does not assert any actual or real controversy with the DNC or the FDP." The appeals court agreed.

The DNC said it was pleased with the ruling because it affirmed previous decision that "national political parties have a constitutionally protected right to manage and conduct their own internal affairs, including the enforcement of delegate selection rules."

The suit stemmed from the DNC's decision to strip Florida of its convention delegates because the date of the Florida primary was moved up without party approval.

Filed under: Delegates • Florida
soundoff (119 Responses)
  1. Brian

    Good. For the government to start telling private political parties how to choose their nominees would be the beginning of the end for Democracy.

    March 21, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  2. Charlotte

    Why does Floridas' elections always end up in some court?

    March 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  3. Haley Rodman Clemson

    If this isn't a sign from the DNC that they care little or nothing for Michigan and Florida Democrats then I don't know what is. I guess McCain will win both states with Nader coming in second. That would show the DNC who is boss.

    March 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  4. Simba

    Laws are not made to be trampled upon. Florida and Michigan knew what they were going into and Obama and Clinton alongside other DNC Presidential candidate knew what they all signed.

    I am appalled at how people are twisting what transpired when such rules were made. Follow the rules for crying out loud! Sorry to Michigan and Florida but that is your luck!

    March 21, 2008 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
  5. North Carolina

    Maybe, Chairman Dean, but I'll "manage and conduct" my VOTE all by myself, thanks. I've already removed myself from the DNC mailing list. After this election, I'm changing my registration to independent. I've had it with your mismangement, clown.

    March 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  6. Florida For OBAMA


    OBAMA '08

    March 21, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  7. Jeanne Beans

    Poor Hillary! Nothing she tries seems to be working...maybe it's time to cry again?

    I'm sure she has even more tricks up her sleeve, but time is running out, and her attempts become even more obvious and more slimy.


    March 21, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  8. Spirit of America

    Florida does it again.
    Presidnetial election stolen in 2000 in Florida.
    Presidential election stolen in 2004 in Ohio.
    Presdential nomination stolen in 2008 in Florida?

    March 21, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  9. Chipster in PA

    Chairman Dean has made a serious mistake by disenfranchising voters in FL & MI. Rules may be rules but votes are votes too. Voters went to the polls when they were told to. They had no choice. When voters in FL & MI tell Chairman Dean in November that they won't bother to vote because their votes weren't valued in the primary, it will cost the Party and the nation dearly. It's a fool's game to insist that arbitrary dates mean more than the downward spiral gripping our nation. It would be nice to think voters will put the nation's interest ahead of their anger but, if Chairman Dean won't, why expect voters to be more forgiving?

    March 21, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  10. Jorge

    Well done. The only suit posible about it is if the DNC resolve seat the delegates of Florida and Michigan. In this case a Suit against them will have legs because the election was based in an information that can not be change after that without void this election. For example if you are told that some election will be to elect a secretary, and after the election they resolve that instead of secretary they will use the same votes to elect a president, will be legal?No.

    March 21, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  11. Jay MN

    Popular vote partiipation in the nomination process is really little more than a courtesy. If Howard Dean wanted to, he could have chosen a nominee entirely behind closed doors.

    It wouldn't have gone over well of course, but technically they could do it that way. Puiblic participation in the process isn't a right to vote; only the November vote is.

    March 21, 2008 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  12. soberone

    Why did Clinton agree to the ban in the first place. She now after signing the papers wants to change positions.
    Does the first agreement meen nothing All it does is stir up every nut case that dos't even vote and try to bring down a party or candidate
    The lawyers better chase an ambulance

    March 21, 2008 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  13. Joyce in Florida

    Hmmm. A court in Atlanta dismisses suit on Florida delegates? I believe this is a political move of the Georgia court system since Obama won Georgia in the primary. I bet it would be different if their State was having our problem. I hope that Victor DiMaio files an amended lawsuit; our delegates should be counted from the January 29th primary. Senator Obama is running scared and will do anything to be the elected nominee. His campaign is a disgrace. The DNC should step up to the plate and resolve this mess; remember the voters had no idea our votes wouldn't count. You can thank our Republican governor and legislature for this.

    Senator Clinton, we are still with you and please don't give up!!!


    March 21, 2008 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  14. Eric Z

    Yeah. A sensible decision. No rhetoric.

    March 21, 2008 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
  15. Dennis, VA

    Good for the court, we had enough of this in 2000.

    Bravo !

    March 21, 2008 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  16. California Voter

    Now it's up to the DNC to make the decision as to whether they will disenfranchise the voters of two states that are critical to the democrats gaining the White House. The DNC is cutting it's nose off to spite itself. All the voters in those two states deserve to be included in this primary election. Rules allow for a revote and the Obama camp is blocking the revote. Is that how a leader unifies the party? Is that how Obama if he wins the nomination unify this country?????

    March 21, 2008 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  17. Jay

    The DNC is a PRIVATE party and can conduct it's affairs any way they decide. Just because people make donations to them doesn't mean that all of a sudden they're governed by the same rules as our government institutions.

    Done & DONE.


    March 21, 2008 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  18. An Agnostic Democrat

    Was this man paid by Hillary to file this suit? Sure wouldn't surprise anyone if he was. I'm sure if the court had ruled in his favor, Hillary would have jetted down there doning her sash for another beauty contest celebration and demanded another press conference.

    March 21, 2008 12:52 pm at 12:52 pm |
  19. Heather

    Time for everyone to go Independent and vote for who you want.

    ********GOBAMA '08************

    March 21, 2008 12:54 pm at 12:54 pm |
  20. Leah Reis-Cincinnati, Ohio

    Any excuse will do to keep from having a fair count. Just like the last two elections. The Republicans will stoop at nothing to push their candidate in.

    March 21, 2008 12:56 pm at 12:56 pm |
  21. sozzi

    Good, finally a court makes the RIGHT decision. NO DO-OVERS. NO DELEGATES. Florida did not follow the rules.

    March 21, 2008 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  22. Gail

    This is exactly what would happen if we had the do-overs in MI and FL. There would be endless lawsuits and we still would not have valid results. Lets accet where this race is....Barack will be our nominee and its time to unite the Democratic party and win the White House.

    Democratics in 2008

    March 21, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  23. Jenn

    the agreement both Clinton, Obama, edwards and all the others had a provision in it to hold a revote. So she really ins't changing posistions just exploring ALL the options in the agreement.

    March 21, 2008 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  24. Eric

    Obama is reminding me more and more of Bush and the tactics he played in Florida in the 2000 general election. Not letting the votes in Florida count is un-democratic!

    March 21, 2008 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  25. Eric

    I am an Obama supporter....we want the delegates to be seated at the convention.....but it must be executed in a proper way that doesn't hurt nor benefit either candidate. Let's be fair........rules were broken, and measures had to be taken. It's definitely not the people's fault, it's there leaders fault.

    March 21, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
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