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. Peter

    As long as we are tied to the two-party system, how can "national political parties have a constitutionally protected right to manage and conduct their own internal affairs" without citizens and voters having recourse to the courts to keep the parties honest?

    The DNC and furthermore the RNC cannot be the final arbiters of who the only two candidates for president will be every four years who have the only true hope of being elected.

    Peter S.

    March 21, 2008 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  2. Hi

    Clinton probably went along with the rules initially, because she thought that she would be the shoe-in for the nomination and everything would be wrapped up for her by Super Tuesday. Now since that hasn't happened, she wants to re-evaluate the whole issue and let those votes count.
    The rules are the rules, and they all knew that these votes wouldn't count at the DNC's convention before signing the pledge, albeit, no one foresaw that there would not be a clearly defined nominee by now...

    March 21, 2008 01:07 pm at 1:07 pm |
  3. St. Louis

    Okay, and here comes the Hillary supporters in 1..2..3...

    March 21, 2008 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  4. alvin4hillary

    CNN is in the tank for Obama. No unbiased coverage. I noticed you even took away the readers ability to comment on your Obama articles. Too much bad reader reaction to Obama.

    I know you won't post this comment but just thought I'd let you know that the people are well aware of your pro-Obama bias and they are changing the channel, going to different websites, and generally dismissing CNN's election coverage.

    How sad. I remember when CNN was the gold standard among news organizations. Now you're more like the National Enqiurer.

    March 21, 2008 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  5. jason

    Good ruling by the courts. The DNC is not itself part of the federal government and can handle business as it sees fit. They made the rules and the FDP decided not to abide by them. Florida needs to grow up instead of continuing to be the mascot for election ineptitude.

    March 21, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  6. D.W.; Miami, FL

    Are people really THAT dumb. We have no federally protected right to participate in a party election or determine how any party (whether its the DNC or the Boy Scouts of America) runs its election. I didn't need to go to law school to figure that one out.

    Hillary and the media (yes that's you CNN) has really snowed the general public with this disenfranchised rethoric. Now look what happens.

    March 21, 2008 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  7. DMAC in ID

    We very badly need a reworking of the DNC and all the stupid rules.
    I for one hope that everyone gets fired and we get some smart people in there to straighten out this party. Right now I can not believe I would have voted for Dean for Pres. Strange how things can happen to change your way of thinking.

    March 21, 2008 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. HEIDI

    Start practicing these words..."President Obama"

    March 21, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. bill

    FL and MI knowingly broke the party rules to grandstand. Time to pay the consequences. If the dems in those two states want to throw their votes away in the general that's their perogative. Maybe they should start putting the blame where it belongs, at the doorstep of their state governments.

    March 21, 2008 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  10. Flawed

    Clinton was the last candidate who agree with DNC ruling.

    March 21, 2008 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  11. Suzie

    This is a good lesson in natural consequences. Florida purposefully broke the rules and for that they have a price to pay. Their votes will not count. Florida cannot decide when to vote without getting permission from the Democratic Party. This situation has not place in the overcrowded courts. Florida needs to seriously consider how their over zealous desire to be moved ahead in the voting season will affect the Democratic delegate count, Democrats may go into the Convention without a candidate

    March 21, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  12. Life-long Democrat

    Can Hillary run as an Independent in the general election if the election is stolen and the democratic nomination is given to Obama?

    It seems to me that if the democratic primary lacks the integrity to count the votes of all 50 states, then having (DEM) following your name isn’t a benefit. If I have to choose between Obama (DEM), McCain (REP), or Clinton (IND), I choose Clinton without a doubt!

    March 21, 2008 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  13. Pernaris

    The Courts have no say in primaries and this is not federal.
    The Democrats were cheated and bullied by the Republicans running Florida, and they are paying for a crime they did not commit.
    The candidates were able to campaign, for national campaigns were seen and heard all over Florida, and although they didn't campaign locally, the people went out in record number (about 1.7 million) and now they are being silenced because is what the Republicans want.
    This is their way io manipulating and again cheat, so their candidate have a chance in hell to get to the White House.
    How long are we going to stand for this. I refuse to accept that we the democrats of Florida are being silenced so that this country can continue is Bush's path. Another 4 years of health, uncertainty, economic failures, and chaos in the homeland.
    Florida needs to accept the vote and allow for the delegates to be seated.
    Hillary won and that the end of it!

    March 21, 2008 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  14. Bayou Joe

    Today Governor Bill Richardson endorsed Senator Obama. According to him because he made a great speech on Race. It is amazing what little it takes to win over some politicians. Here is a man (Bill) who owes his political career to the Clintons, Whose State
    was won by Hllary Clinton and where Hillary beat Obama 2-1 in the HIspanic vote and he endorses Obama.

    This endorsement is a slap in the face of all Mexican Americans in the Southwest. Those of us who have served in War time and have children serving in Iraq and Afghanistan will not forget this come November.

    It makes me wonder whether Barak Obama has offered Bill Richardson (allegedly an Hispanic), the VP position on his ticket, just to get the Hispanic Vote. Well Mr. Richardson and Mr. Obama it won't work for this Veteran and father of Children that served in Iraq and are currently serving in Iraq and Afghanistan to defend and avenge the deaths of our innocent citizens that died in the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. We will not surrender.

    March 21, 2008 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  15. dolores mueller




    March 21, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  16. Ron

    You democrats are all alike. I am an independent and for good reason. Call it like it is, both of your candidated do not tell the truth. When I grew up, this was called lying. When you misrepresent a fact it is a lie. Neither of your candidates have any morals when it comes to running for President. Obama actually throws his grandmother under a train. And, yes there is HRC–enough said. I don't think she could tell the truth if her life depended upon it.

    I know you hate Bush but let's get real here. Neither of the democratic candidates have the experience, judgement, and yes the morality to be president.

    March 21, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  17. Praetorian, Fort Myers

    The many who voted have already changed alliances and parties anyway.

    McCain gained a lot of ground because of the DNC's arrogant incompetence and lack of vision–and the ultra left leaning of the two surviving candidates.

    The Democratic party has actually been able to lose nearly all of their conservatives due to their ineptness and their social pandering. Great job guys!

    March 21, 2008 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  18. Gobama

    The solution is to seat the Florida & Michigan pledged and super delegates without having them influence the outcome of the election of the nominee for the Presidency.

    If the Clintons were not driven by personal ambition ALONE for a THIRD TERM, then they would have surrendered and help unite the the Dems for victory.

    Instead, the Clintons sought to take their polarization effect into the Democratic Party and AGAIN invite defeat, as they did in 2000 debasing of the Oval Office and ruining their White House legacy by publicly and brazenly lying to the American people: "I did not have sex with that woman, Ms Lewinski"!

    March 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  19. Travis


    1)Elect Hillary Clinton
    2)Buy stock in all companies that own major news organizations
    3)Sell stocks in the third year of her term right after Bill gets caught sticking his noodle were it doesn’t belong.
    4)You’ll then be left with a whole lot of worthless dollars!!

    March 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  20. Joseph Smith

    HRC, as the frontrunner, had no choice but to go along with DNC. Otherwise, she would have been bashed for "gaming the system"

    March 21, 2008 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  21. Manuel TX

    The Obama supporters can take solace NOW from the probability that MI and FL will not be counted.

    And the voters in MI and FL can take solace from knowing that they can vote for the republican candidate during the general election.

    Howard Dean is making a huge blunder on this matter and it will cause the Democratic party to lose the white house.

    Hillary 2010! 🙂

    March 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  22. JOHN


    March 21, 2008 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
  23. Realistic

    Hillary was for excluding the Florida voters before she was against it.

    March 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  24. Carol g

    Clinton is an opportunist. She wants to score points now by saying that she have always there for FL and MI. She wants to go home to the WHITE HOUSE. If she can blame Obama for FL and MI decision to have their primary before Feb 5, knowing full well the rules and the consequences, then she will. She is or was a lawyer for many years so she should recognise an ambulance when she sees one. Have a great day.

    March 21, 2008 01:29 pm at 1:29 pm |
  25. JOHN


    March 21, 2008 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
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