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From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

DNC prevails in first court challenge



A U.S. District Court Judge says the first lawsuit challenging the Democratic National Committee decision to strip Florida of its presidential delegates is so flawed he won't even let the plaintiffs amend it and try again.

"The of the view that allowing Plaintiff to amend to cure the deficiencies of his complaint would be an exercise in futility," wrote U.S. District Judge Richard A. Lazzara in an order issued Friday.

Lazzara wrote that the suit by Tampa political consultant Vic DiMaio fails to show that he has standing -- or rather, that he has been dealt some singular wrong that the court must right. Further, the judge says prior court rulings have made clear that political parties, as private entities, are allowed to set their own rules under Constitutional freedom of association guarantees.

The DNC rules committee voted in August to strip Florida of all of its 210 delegates in response to the state scheduling its primary earlier than party rules allow. The decision effectively renders Florida's Jan. 29 Democratic primary moot.

DiMaio filed suit last month claiming that the DNC rules committee decision and failure by the state party to adopt another means of selecting delegates violates his rights to equal protection.

Judge Lazzara notes that DiMaio will still be permitted to vote and that it is the party's right whether or not to consider that vote.

Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Alcee Hastings, D-Miramar, filed their own federal lawsuit against the DNC Thursday in Tallahassee.

-By Bill Varian

[Last modified: Wednesday, September 15, 2010 11:18am]


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