May 28th, 2008
10:45 AM ET
14 years ago

Florida court throws out DNC suit

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="A Florida court threw out a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Democratic Party's decision not to seat delegates from Florida."](CNN) - A Florida court threw out a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the Democratic Party's decision not to seat delegates from Florida - as litigants prepared to appeal the case to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Political consultant Victor DiMaio and his lawyer Michael Steinberg had compared the party's decision to earlier prohibitions against allowing African-Americans to vote and invoked the trauma of the Florida recount in the 2000 contest between Al Gore and George W. Bush, both arguments also used by Hillary Clinton to support the seating of the state’s delegates.

"This is nuts. This is not right. How can they remove Florida after all the things that Florida has suffered through– hanging chads, through Bush v Gore, and they're sticking it to us again," DiMaio said before the hearing.

Democratic Party chairman Howard Dean says the situations are not comparable.

"You cannot violate the rules of the process and then expect to get forgiven for it," he said.

Judge Richard Lazarra sided with the party, saying political parties have the right to make their own rules.

DiMaio's is the second Florida lawsuit protesting the Democratic Party's decision to be thrown out of court. An earlier one filed by Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Alcee Hastings, both Florida Democrats, was also dismissed.

soundoff (267 Responses)
  1. Heidi






    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  2. Doris,Memphis, TN

    The Democratic Nominee will win this fall even if he is from Mars!
    Hillary knows this!

    Obama 2008-2016

    God Bless America!

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  3. Chi4Obama

    I do agree with the theoretical notion that ALL states should be counted. However, I also believe that EVERYONE must abide by the rules/bylaws that were put in place before this Primary began.

    FACT: Florida and Michigan both broke the rules set forth by the DNC by moving up their primary dates.

    The Clinton camped also acknowledged the fact that the Michigan and Florida Delegates, would not be seated, as a result of this violation. If the Clinton camp truly had a "genuine" interest in not "Disenfranchising" anyone during this process-then they would have been fighting for the Florida and Michigan votes much earlier.

    The Clinton camp did not even bring up the subject of "Florida and Michigan", until it was evident that it was mathmatically improbable for Hillary to win. This is nothing more than just a last act of desperation, to steal the election from the "presumptive nominee".

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  4. John E Lexington KY

    Mr. Martin, you're forgetting more facts, that the Florida legistlature was controlled by Republicans, that Hillary would still win both states by large margins (so Obama's offer to split the delegates was extremely disingenuous) and that Obama's union allies killed the Michigan revote in their legistlature.

    I don't understand how supposedly professional commentors take the money and use their positions to flack for the candidate they prefer. There is more fair and balanced commentary on Fox, which is pathetic.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  5. Scott M.-Kalamazoo, MI

    The court has it exactly right. Being from Michigan my vote doesn't count either but the only ones to blame our my state Democratic leaders and no one else. The National Democratic Party gave both rogue states ample warning of what would happen but neither listened. I fully support Deans decision.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  6. Debra

    Glad the FL courts did the right thing. FL was told that if they moved thier primary, thier vots didn't count. feel bad for those voters in FL and MI but we are a country of rules and laws. Citizens were told thiier votes didn't count, don't know when, but it must have been a few weeks if not months when they decided to change the primary date. Why didn't anyone get angry and do something then??? All of the candidates knew they didn't count, now Clinton wants the rules changed. Funny thing is, unless they end up giving her 100 % of the votes, which they won't, Obama will still win no matter where they put the goal post.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |

    This is exactly what I had said all along. The clintons want the rule of the game changed in between the game.They careless about our beloved party. You guys alone are not entittled to the presidency.Give Barack a chance for he is now the darling of our party.Please get over this for failure is not fatal but delayed success.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  8. Bush was never elected

    If Clinton didn't like what she was signing, then she should have run as Independent, but she didn't. She needed to be on a major party ticket to get the push and the money for the GE if she was nominated. The rules are the rules, and if those rules prevented her from a win, then I guess she was in the wrong party. It's nobody's fault but her own.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  9. Jim - Philadelphia

    I feel that watching how Clinton is running her campaign is a good indication as to how she would run the country. American citizens have been given the shaft for the past eight years. Lies and deception have become the rule and not the exception. Hillary is the same old same old.

    Those people who feel disenfranchized should look back to Hillary and ask her why she agreed to this in the first place. she had no objections until she started losing. And she is taking her husband down with her.

    Bill Clinton has always had an extrememly favorable view in my mind. This has since changed.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Prego8998

    Get real Clintons. Stop attacking Obama. The more you criticize the media, Obama or the DNC the more it shows how power hunger both of you are and how low you can go to get what you want. You need to realize, this is the new era that people wants new idea not political insiders like you two that disgraced this country with both of your scandals in the 90s. Al Gore was the victim of your disgrace, that's how he lost his presidential bid to that idiot Bush. Both of you motivated the evangelical people to come out in record numbers to against Al Gore due to the lack of moral and family values from Bill Clinton's presidency.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  11. tidho

    "You cannot violate the rules of the process and then expect to get forgiven for it,"

    That's a pretty telling quote from Dean leading into the May 31 meeting.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  12. Mr Fix it (

    Thank you Judge.

    This is a win for all those democratic candidates who chose to follow the rules of the DNC. Rulling for this suit would have created counter law suit by those democratic contenders who pulled out of the race earlier. The argument that they would have been better off had they campaigned in Florida and Michigan would have been hard to deny.
    Tossing out this law suit should be a wake up call for the Clintons of what is about to happen this saturday.

    Amazingly sad, she had tainted her self so bad that she may not be able to recover politically.

    -Win at all cost strategy: Even if it means destroying your fellow democrat and party.
    -Constant negative attacks and adds at the expense of now and soon to be the nominee.
    -Suggesting, whether intensionally or subconscioulsly that you stick and hang in the race in hopes that your fellow democrat might be shot.

    All the above and more leaves her no place in the democratic party or contending for the presidency of this great nation.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  13. Paul

    Good. The Clintons want to change the rules ONLY after they need them to be. They didn't ask for the rules to be changed prior to Hillary getting beat fair and square. They are only NOW asking for them to be changed. Read the rules people. You can't change them after the game has already started.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  14. Righttovote

    What about the people who didn't even vote during the respective primaries of each state, thinking, perhaps, that it wouldn't matter since the delegates would not be counted? What about those people?

    To award 100% of the delegates would bring anarchy. What would prevent the other 48 rule-following states not to jumpa ahead next election?

    What about the AGREEMENT not to award delegates in the first place? Do any of these questions go through anyone else's minds?

    Does anyone see the self-serving nature of one of the Democratic candidate's behavior? Self-serving, because it really angers and divides the Democrats, shooting themselves in the foot yet again.

    I have lost any and all respect for Hillary.

    I have lost any and all respect for Bill. Shameful.

    They demean themselves over and over and over again.

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  15. Angela

    This is a horrible example of the kind of mess this country is in because of party politics. No one person or organization(DNC or RNC) should have the right to make rules ( even though all parties agree)that effectively deny the rights of each person's representative vote in any election.
    Again, just because the parties agree to it doesn't make it OK>
    this is a slipperey slope very much away from the principles that this country was founded on. We are essentially giving the right of selection to the heads of political parties and not the people. Absurd!!!. WE have learned nothing and we deserve the wrong president!!!! Again!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    May 28, 2008 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  16. ???

    Yes, rules are rules and the parties can come up with whatever rules they want. Sure they could be better, but you don't change the rules while the contest is in progress just because you aren't winning, how would you feel if your favorite team was ahead in the Superbowl in the last quarter and suddenly the other team argues that they want to overturn a ten yard penalty in the first quarter? Most people would think that was ridiculous, how is this any different?

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  17. Leroy

    I really don't want to get in to the mud slinging thing, but here it is! There can be no question why Sen Clinton support base are made up of uneducated, and older folks. She is not able to pull the rug from up under the more educated folks and then tell us that its something else.
    Bottom line, this is going to get UGLY, I only hope that those Clinton supporters vote the issues at the end of the day, becuase McCain is not going to change a thing.

    Roland on another topic:
    Is it me or has CNN, specifically Lou Dobbs, who I am a great fan of , suddenly seems to be taking shots at Obama without cause? I can't believe how he tried to hype Obama's comment about his uncle!

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. JJ

    I totally agree with Roland. She isn't fighting this for the sake of the people, she's fighting for herself. Anyone who thinks she's fighting for the will of the people are fooling themselves. This is all about Hillary.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  19. Jeff D, South Bend, IN

    Now, cue the Clinton Crybabies, whining about sexism, or racism, or fairness, or delegates, or electability – or whatever this weeks topic of whin-e-ness is.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  20. Paula

    Thank you Roland!!! You are always a voice of reason.
    Clinton is acting like a spoiled brat grabbing, whining, ranting and almost stamping her foot.
    SHE signed off the two contested States, nobody forced her.
    She reminds me of a junk yard dog who just won't let go.. the woman needs to step down.. her grace is now gone.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  21. C from the D

    Well said Roland, well said... The longer that she hangs her hat on this nonsense the harder it will be to put MI and FL in play. This situation should be over and done with and Obama should be campaigning there drumming up support, but he can't fully do so with the unfair picture hanging over his campaign that he is some how responsible for the situation in MI and Fl.

    To all the Hillary supporters that will eventually flood this topic, please look at whats being said from Bush's former press secretary. Even if all of your criticisms of Obama are true, do you REALLY want Bush's influence to extend 4 more years? This man sent our children to war for political gain!?! If this doesn't upset/disgust you enough to want to vote democratic, then all I can do is pray for your souls.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  22. Paul

    I really do hope that whether or not Barack wins the general, it is the end of the Clinton era in American politics. I hope that if he wins the GE, she decides she is too old and pathetic at 68. If he loses, I hope America will not let her forget in 2012 that she was a reason (maybe not the only) he lost in 2008. She and her husband are doing no good right now. And they actually used Karl Rove's research to bolster their case in the GE. Are you serious? Is there a democrat alive that does not hate Karl Rove more than Bush himself? Could Karl Rove's research really be a ploy by the Republicans to stir up even more controvery? Well it is working...

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  23. ao

    Democrats deserve and will lose in Nov. western states will not make up lost EV in FL, OH, MI, PA. This party has no strategy, and i am said to report I used to believe in it. Instead of 16 years of WH now we will have none. Pathetic Party "leadership"

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. dolemite

    I wonder, where was Hillary's outrage concerning Michigan and Florida before she ended up losing 11 Primary contests in a row? Always claiming "ready to lead on day one" while her campaign seemed to have no plan for after the original "Super Tuesday"...not to mention paying Mark Penn how many millions–and he didn't even know about the Democratic party dividing state delegates proportionately, rather than a "Winner Take All" style the Republican party does for their primaries? That doesn't seem like the best judgment on day one, or day one thousand, for that matter.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  25. Lito

    How can any average minded person not see that hillary and Obama signed and agreed that the 2 states would not count. Hillary now as an american says its ok to make rules and change the rule to work in your favor, its just not right and all the women out there i know you want to see a woman win but its just not her time and shes starting to ruin it for future woman running in future elections.

    May 28, 2008 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11