Florida Democrats file suit to seat delegates
Just one day after la Hillarina invoked images of “disenfranchised” Florida Election 2000 voters, talked about the Dem fight for the “Voting Rights Act” as well as their alleged fight to “end racial discrimination at the ballot box,” Florida Democrats have filed a lawsuit in federal court to force the DNC to seat the Florida delegates, and they are invoking …. the Voting Rights Act:
Florida’s history of discrimination against African Americans should force the national Democratic Party to count all of the state’s delegates at its national convention, a federal lawsuit filed Thursday claims.
The suit, filed by state Senate Democratic Leader Steve Geller and two other Democrats, claims that the federal Voting Rights Act prohibits the national party from stripping the state of its convention delegates.
The Civil Rights-era law requires the U.S. Justice Department to approve any significant voting change in Florida to make sure it doesn’t disenfranchise minority voters. Geller argues that includes the Democratic National Committee’s demand that Florida switch ”from a state-run primary to party-run caucus system” to avoid losing its delegates.
”The purpose of this lawsuit is not to support one candidate over another; it’s to enforce one of the most basic tenets of our democracy: Count the votes as they were cast,” Geller said in announcing the lawsuit.
Geller, a Cooper City lawyer, said the Democratic National Committee has repeatedly argued that the reason it is punishing Florida is because it held its primary before the February date authorized by the party and then refused to conduct a post-primary caucus to designate delegates.
Geller argues that a caucus would have replaced the vote of 1.75 million Floridians with an event that was expected to capture only about 100,000 voters at 120 polling sites, thereby disenfranchising thousands of Florida Democrats, including those serving in U.S. military based outside Florida.
The lawsuit was filed by Geller’s law firm, Greenspoon Marder, Miami lawyer Ben Kuehne and Dan Stengle of Hopping Green & Sams in Tallahassee. In addition to Geller, who is an uncommitted super-delegate, plaintiffs include a Florida delegate for Hillary Clinton, Barbara Effman and one for Barack Obama, Percy Johnson.
The lawsuit also says that by penalizing Florida, the DNC is violating the constitutional protection on equal application of the law and a federal law that requires parties to write their own rules and then follow them. The lawsuit argues that DNC rules require it to conduct an investigation into questions involving state action, such as the premature primary date, but the DNC failed to conduct any investigation.
Clinton said yesterday that if MI and FL wanted to take this all the way to the convention, she’d stand by their respective sides the whole way (probably with a pocket knife in her purse). It sounds like in the case of Florida, at least, that may very well happen.
In related news, Howard Dean recently declared that the electoral college should be scrapped (via Jim G.):
“It’s unrepresentative of where the American people are. It was fine for the days of the Pony Express, but it’s not necessary to avoid a popular vote on Presidents now.”
Perhaps this is an indicator of the Dem party’s worry that Barack Obama won’t be able to win battleground states he’ll need to in the fall?
Related: Josh Marshall acts surprised that Hillary would stoop to the level she has (with comparing seating the Florida and Michigan delegates to the civil rights movement, stirring up old fears). Dude. Time for a flashback.