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Lawsuit to Seat Florida Delegates Dismissed

Updated and bumped:

A federal appeals court dismissed a lawsuit Friday against the Democratic National Committee over the party's decision to strip Florida of its delegates to its national convention.

But the ruling by the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the complaint "raises a number of significant and potentially significant questions," and gave the plaintiffs an opening to amend the lawsuit.[...]

The three-judge panel agreed with a federal district judge in Tampa who dismissed the challenge, saying that Mr. DiMaio "undeniably" lacked standing to bring the lawsuit because he had yet to vote in the Florida primary when it was filed.

"Since DiMaio's complaint does not allege any actual or imminent injury, nor suggest in any way how that 'injury' could be redressed by a favorable judgment, we are without jurisdiction to entertain the appeal," the ruling said. But the ruling suggested he could file another challenge, now that he has voted in the Jan. 29 contest, and mentioned case law that could be included in the lawsuit.

The appeals court basically told DiMaio exactly why they were dismissing the case, in effect instructing him how to go about refiling the case. DiMaio has indicated his intent to refile quickly.

---original post begins below---

Lawsuit to Seat Florida Delegates Set for Monday

Published: Mar 14, 08 12:00 PM

A John Edwards supporter, Victor DiMaio -- who is now neutral is the Democratic race going forward -- has filed a lawsuit that asks for the entire Florida delegation (as constituted following the Florida primary) to be seated at the Democratic convention in August. The lawsuit will receive its first hearing Monday in Atlanta.

There isn't much available currently, so I'll try to update this later. Meanwhile, here's the report from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

Atlanta could become the center of the political storm on Monday when a federal appeals panel hears a lawsuit that seeks to force the Democratic National Committee to seat all of Florida's delegates at the party's national convention in August.

The suit was filed in August in Tampa on behalf of Floridian Victor DiMaio. It claims the DNC violated his constitutional rights when it stripped Florida's Democratic Party of all 210 of its delegates to the convention as punishment for holding its Jan. 29 presidential primary earlier than DNC rules allow.

The suit was rejected at the district court level in Tampa, but the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta has agreed to hear the case.

DiMaio said Thursday in an interview that the appellate panel's decision to hear the case gives him hope.

"They've cleared the entire docket for the entire afternoon," DiMaio said. "They definitely want to hear our argument."

DiMaio said he supported former Sen. John Edwards and is neutral in the ongoing race for the nomination.

UPDATE: Apparently DiMaio is a long-time Democratic activist who sued the DNC back in 2007.

Details to come, but the Buzz is that Hillsborough Democratic activists Vic DiMaio and Michael Steinberg are suing the DNC over the primary issue. From the legal eagles we've talked to, this won't be a slam dunk. On the one hand the Supreme Court has recognized the right of parties to control their nominating process, but on the other Florida has voting rights counties that could come into play if people's ability to participate is impeded.

From Bill Varian: The lawsuit was filed in the Middle District of Florida, Tampa Division, by Victor DiMaio, a long-time political consultant who also serves on the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee. He is represented by Social Security lawyer Michael Steinberg, a perennial candidate for office who also sits on the executive committee and served as a Florida delegate in 2004.

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Comments (2)

That decision to strip the Michigan and Florida delegates should have never been made in the first place. It's a real continued problem for the Democratic hopes in both states in November. The Democrats will probably lose Florida. But if they lose Michigan, then they win also lose the entire election.

The real problem for the Clinton campaign at this point is the math. There are only 931 delegates still up for grabs if you include the Florida and Michigan delegates along with the remaining contests and Obama is just 414 delegates short of victory with several more contests out there which he will likely win such as Oregon, etc. Even if Clinton wins in Pennsylvania where she is currently ahead, she is much farther back at needing 545 delegates which is nearly an impossible task.

The miniSuper Tuesday event didn't really turn out as good for the Clinton campaign as hoped either. Even though she managed to win three of four contests including Texas, Ohio and Rhode Island, she only won 6 more delegates that day than Obama. Clinton got 208 delegates, while Obama won 202. Clinton only won 106 delegates in Texas compared to the 109 that Obama won with his caucus win there figured in. In Ohio she got just 76 delegates compated to 69 for Obama. And in Rhode Island she got 19 delegates compared to the 10 for Obama, but that was largely offset by the Obama win in Vermont where he got 14 delegates compared to her 7 delegates. And since that miniSuper Tuesday, Clinton lost both Wyoming and Mississippi to Obama, leaving her with just 1,480 total delegates compared to his 1,611.

Among superdelegates the margin has narrowed considerably as well also hurting Clinton. Clinton has an estimated 237 superdelegates compared to the estimated 207 for Obama.

Even if Clinton manages to capture a majority of the delegates in Florida and Michigan, the math is highly unlikely that she can catch up with Obama because she won't be winning every other remaining contest by big enough of a margin to overtake Obama. That miniSuper Tuesday delegate disappointment is a statement of that. Clinton is in the same mess that Reagan was in 1976 when he was behind Gerald Ford in delegates in the Republican race, but hung around in through the convention. The Republicans also lost that year to Carter you remember. Clinton may want to hang around to the convention. But at some point, for the sake of party unity, she will have to fold up her tent and call it quits for party unity if the Democrats intend to beat McCain in 2008. Clinton is highly unlikely to win the nomination because from every angle the math is not in her favor at this point. Her campaign really lost this election after having no real plan to win in the caucus states and allowed Obama to win 11 straight contests after Super Tuesday, instead counting on the Ohio and Texas firewall strategy plan which really didn't work. Clinton will have her campaign managers to blame for her loss in the 2008 campaign. They really let her down while the Obama campaign was much better managed and took advantage of every opportunity in every state to put him in the driver's seat as the odds on favorite to win the nomination.

Lee Ward[TypeKey Profile Page]:

From what I've read, Obama won't have enough pledged delegates to secure the nomination, even with a Florida/Michigan redo.

With that in mind, I fully expect Clinton to not fold her tent, and that she will stick around all the way to the convention instead.

If enough superdelegates pledge for Obama, and that in turn gives him enough delegates and superdelegates to lock in the nomination, it's a different story.

She doesn't need to catch up with Obama as long as Obama doesn't have the number needed. If Obama doesn't have the nomination locked up, it's still a contest. Being in second place is no reason to quit the race. She can and will make the argument at the convention that she is the better candidate.


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