The Democratic National Committee is violating the equal protection clause of the 14th Amendment by allowing only four states to hold caucuses or primaries before the first Tuesday in February, a Florida attorney argued March 17, 2008 before a federal appeals court.
Attorney Michael Steinberg filed suit in August on behalf of Democratic Party activist Victor DiMaio. The suit came after the DNC said it would not seat Florida delegates at the national convention because the state party defied party rules and scheduled its primary for January 29.
Steinberg argued that the 14th Amendment, which bars states from denying individuals equal protection under the law, should prohibit the DNC from creating rules.
"You can't treat the citizens of some states differently than other states," Steinberg told reporters after the hearing. "What I tried to assert is that the DNC has the right to make rules ... but the rules have to be the same for all the states."
DiMaio, who referred to himself as the "little guy" who speaks for Floridians, told reporters that it's unfair for only four states to be allowed to hold primaries or caucuses in January.
"If you go before February 5, you're basically screwed because you get no delegates," he said. "We've lost 210 delegates. We're the fourth largest state in the nation, and we have zero delegates."
"I'm not asking for a penny, I'm not asking for a dime in this action," DiMaio said. "I'm just asking for my vote to count."
DiMaio predicts this won't be the last stop in the process. If the appeals panel rules against him, he said he'll petition the Supreme Court, and he predicts the DNC would do the same.
UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT
MIDDLE DISTRICT OF FLORIDA
v. CASE NO: 8:07-cv-1552-T-26MAP
COMMITTEE and FLORIDA
SEE Court Documents