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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

Court to hear oral arguments in DNC suit



Wouldn't this be interesting?

A federal appeals court has agreed to hear oral arguments from a Hillsborough County man seeking to have Florida's Democratic presidential preference primary vote counted.

Vic DiMaio, a party activist in Hillsborough County, sued the Democratic National Committee over its decision to strip Florida of its delegates because its Jan. 29 primary was earlier than party rules allow.

Federal district court judge Richard A. Lazzara harshly dismissed the case in October, saying the suit was so flawed he wouldn't even let DiMaio amend it and try again. He said prior court rulings had made clear that political parties, as private entities, can set their own rules in selecting presidential candidates.

Now the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta is saying, not so fast. It wants to hear more after reading written pleadings. Federal appellate courts don't always take oral arguments.

"It doesn't tell me we're going to win," said Michael Steinberg, a Social Security lawyer who serves as chairman of the Hillsborough County Democratic Executive Committee and is respresenting DiMaio. "It tells me that they're going to make some sort of precedential ruling."

--Bill Varian, Times Staff Writer

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 1:13pm]


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