Obama v. Clinton: Could Delegate Counts Spark a Lawsuit?

Clinton Obama 2008Former U.S. Solicitor General and Bush v. Gore counsel, Ted Olson, writes in today’s Wall Street Journal of the possibility of contentious litigation should there be a contest in seating delegates to the Democratic National Convention:

“Imagine that as the convention approaches, Sen. Clinton is leading in the popular vote, but Sen. Obama has the delegate lead. Surely no one familiar with her history would doubt that her take-no-prisoners campaign team would do whatever it took to capture the nomination, including all manner of challenges to Obama delegates and tidal waves of litigation.

“Indeed, it has already been reported that Sen. Clinton will demand that the convention seat delegates from Michigan and Florida, two states whose delegates have been disqualified by the party for holding January primaries in defiance of party rules. The candidates agreed not to campaign in those states. But Sen. Clinton opted to keep her name on the Michigan primary ballot, and staged a primary-day victory visit to Florida, winning both of those unsanctioned primaries. Her campaign is arguing that the delegates she won in each state be recognized despite party rules and notwithstanding her commitment not to compete in those primaries. Of course. ‘Count every vote.’

“As the convention nears, with Sen. Clinton trailing slightly in the delegate count, the next step might well be a suit in the Florida courts challenging her party’s refusal to seat Florida’s delegation at the convention. And the Florida courts, as they did twice in 2000, might find some ostensible legal basis for overturning the pre-election rules and order the party to recognize the Clinton Florida delegates. That might tip the balance to Sen. Clinton…”

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