Florida Dems to Sue DNC over Ruling

The Florida Democratic party decided to defy the Democratic National Committee and hold their primary on January 29 of next year - a week before the national party's rules say they can.

As a consequence, the DNC penalized Florida by requiring candidates for president to snub the state in their campaigns while refusing to seat any Florida delegates at the Democratic Convention next summer.

It appears now that the Florida Dems are not going to take these
penalties lying down:

The Democratic Party is violating the Constitution and federal law by stripping 4 million Floridians of their right to vote in the presidential primary, says a lawsuit Democratic lawmakers plan to file Thursday.

The national party's action is a "monumental irony" given the state's recent election history, according to a draft copy of the lawsuit.

The suit will claim the Democratic National Committee did not have the right to take away Florida's presidential delegates just because Republicans set the primary for Jan. 29 in violation of DNC rules.

The lawsuit will also say presidential candidates were pressured into boycotting the state, which takes away voters' rights to engage the candidates on issues important to them, according to a draft copy obtained Wednesday

It will name the DNC and its chairman, Howard Dean, as defendants. Sen. Bill Nelson and Rep. Alcee Hastings, both Florida Democrats who plan to file the lawsuit, will discuss it Thursday morning once it's filed.
Do national parties have the right to make rules and dole out penalties for violations of those rules? Those questions and others will confront the judge when he hears arguments on the case. 

The DNC being a private entity, it should be interesting to see how the courts rule on what amounts to a free speech issue. Can the national party make a rule that results in the non-participation of one of its subsidiaries in the presidential selection process and does that rule have to adhere to Constitutional principles? As far as I've been able to gather, experts are split on these issues with some pointing to other court cases where rules were upheld despite questions regarding constitutional protections.

At stake is 210 delegates from Florida and whether the votes of people in the January 29th primary will count for anything except a beauty contest. Other states will surely be watching the Florida case to see whether they can game the primaries to manuever their own states into a more prominent position.