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Judge Rules Against pro-Clinton Union in Nevada Caucus Dispute

MyWay has the details on the court's ruling:

A union with ties to Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton failed in court Thursday to prevent casino workers from caucusing at special precincts on the Las Vegas strip.

The ruling by U.S. District Court Judge James Mahan was presumed to be a boost for Clinton rival Barack Obama in the Democratic presidential caucuses Saturday because he has been endorsed by the union representing many of the shift workers who will be able to use the precincts.

"State Democrats have a First Amendment right to association, to assemble and to set their own rules," Mahan said.

The Clinton campaign responds:

In a statement, the Clinton campaign pointed out that other voters won't receive the same advantages as the bellhops and waitresses along the strip.

"Make no mistake," the statement said, "the current system that prohibits some shift workers from being able to participate, while allowing others to do so, would seem to benefit other campaigns. More importantly, it is unfair."

And Bill Clinton, once again taking the lead in his wife's campaign, was angrily defensive:

"Get on your television station and say, 'I don't care about the home mortgage crisis, all I care about is making sure that some voters have it easier than others, and that when they do vote, when it's already easier for them, their vote should count five times as much as others,' " Clinton said.

"If you want to take that position, get on the television and take it," he added. "Don't be accusatory with me, I had nothing to do with this lawsuit."

I'm not sure exactly what Bill Clinton means when he says the casino workers vote will count "five times as much as others". If anyone knows what he is talking about please comment.

What I do know is that the number of votes cast would be much less if the casino caucus sites were not allowed to operate. I should know something about this because I lived in Las Vegas for 15 years and visit there often.

The casinos employ huge numbers of people so it only makes sense to locate the caucus sites inside them. Whats more, traffic in and around the strip is often a nightmare. People who work in the casinos cannot easily travel to the other locations away from the strip and get back in time to report for their shifts. It seems to me anything that facilitates participation in the caucuses should be allowed.

Ultimately, it's up to the Nevada Democratic Party itself to set its own rules on how to conduct caucuses. This never belonged in the courts.

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Comments (7)


Hate to say it, but I think if the casino workers had been for Hillary, there wouldn't have been any problem at all.

That there was heartburn when they went for Obama... well, heterodox beliefs cannot be tolerated and must be discouraged. Hillary is the Anointed One, and the sooner the Party falls in line behind her, the better.

Lee Ward:

If Obama isn't willing to play this same level of hardball he has no business running for the nomination.

If Obama thinks the Republican'ts aren't going to pull out the stops and play tough he's naive. If he thinks he can win without getting his hands dirty and playing hardball back at them, he's stupid.


Actually Lee, it looks more like attempted fratricide from where I sit, not hardball. And it's ugly. After spending months and months tearing each other down via whatever means they can, we're supposed to accept that all is sweetness and light and they're all joining hands? No resentments, since it's all part of the Great Game and they're all sportsmanlike players?

Uh, yeah. Sure. Just watch out for the knife in the back later.

Lee Ward:

I disagree. Knife in the back comes AFTER the baseball bat to the kneecaps.


Dang. I ALWAYS get those mixed up!

Lee Ward:

The baseball bat to the kneecaps drops them onto the floor, which makes the old knife in the back much easier.


This explains Clinton's comments about the "vote worth five times as much as people who voted in their own precinct" (taken from an NBC blog):

If turnout were incredibly low in the casino caucuses and incredibly high in the regular precinct caucuses, Clinton would be right in warning that votes cast in the at-large casino caucuses could be worth "five times, maybe even more" than votes cast at regular precinct caucuses, according to Bill Buck, a consultant to the Nevada Democratic Party.

Clinton is being disingenuous, however, when he makes it sound as if this feature of the Nevada caucuses was only recently discovered. It's been known for months.

What has changed is knowledge that the Culinary Workers, the union which represents the casino workers, is backing Barack Obama.

Clinton also criticized the casino causues saying: "This is a one-man, one-vote country."

What Clinton left out, however, is that it's not just the at-large casino caucuses which is at odds with "one-man, one-vote."

The regular Democratic precinct caucuses in Nevada are also at odds with "one-man, one-vote."

In rural parts of Nevada, five people are needed to produce one delegate.

In Clark County (home to Las Vegas), 50 people are needed to produce one delegate.

Democrats in Nevada and Iowa structured their caucuses this way in order to encourage candidates to campaign in rural parts of the state.


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