Legal Remedy Not the Solution for Florida

We don't comment on litigation. However, there are three general points worth noting:

First, the political parties themselves, not the states have the legal right, grounded in the First Amendment to the US Constitution, to establish the rules by which their candidates for President and Vice President are nominated, as the Supreme Court recognized more than 25 years ago: In determining the rules for delegate selection, the "National Democratic Party and its adherents enjoy a constitutionally protected right of political association." Cousins v. Wigoda, 419 U.S. 477, 487 (1975). "The States themselves have no constitutionally mandated role in the great task of the selection of Presidential and Vice Presidential candidates." The current DNC rules were adopted over a year ago overwhelmingly by the full DNC.

Second, the state of Florida moved the date of their primary knowing full well what the consequences from the national parties would be. The DNC has the absolute legal right to treat the state-run primary as a mere beauty contest. As the U.S. Supreme Court held in Democratic Party of the United States v. Wisconsin ex rel. LaFollette, 450 U.S. 107 (1981), a state can, by state law, hold a state-run presidential preference primary on any date and under any conditions it wants. However the DNC is under no obligation to recognize the results of that primary in allocating delegates among presidential candidates. In that case, the Court held that DNC had the right not to seat any delegates from Wisconsin selected in a primary that violated DNC rules.

Third, there is no legal basis for challenging the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee actions under the Voting Rights Act. In fact, it is the State of Florida, not the party who may have violated the VRA by failing to get a pre-clearance from the U.S. Department of Justice prior to moving the date of their primary.

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