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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Democratic Debate in Nevada: Supreme Court Rules Against Kucinich

The transcript is for the Democratic debate held last night in Nevada can be found here.

The Democratic debate included Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and John Edwards and noticeably absent was Dennis Kucinich, who earlier had petitioned a court to force NBC to include him in the Nevada debate broadcasted on MSNBC.

A Las Vegas judge ruled earlier yesterday that NBC had to include Dennis Kucinich in the debate to be held that night and NBC then appealed to the Nevada Supreme Court, which sided with NBC.

NBC had originally invited Kucinich to participate in the debate and then they rescinded the offer. The basis of the Las Vegas judge's ruling was that the original invitation was to be considered a "contract" of sorts.

After the Las Vegas judge overstepped his bounds, NBC then asked for writ relief, in which the Supreme Court's ruling nullified the district court's decision to force NBC t include Kucinich.

Here is the PDF of the Nevada Supreme Court's reasoning, excerpts below.

This original petition for writ relief challenges an order of the district court that requires petitioner NBC Universal, INC., to allow real party in interest Dennis J. Kucinich to participate in a democratic presidential debate in Las Vegas, Nevada, on January 15, 2008. Based upon the petition and the parties' oral arguments, we have determined that writ relief is warranted.

Preliminarily, although the petition seeks relief solely in the form of prohibition, we conclude that it is more appropriately considered to be requesting both a writ of prohibition and a writ of mandamus. These remedies are addressed to this court's sound discretion and may be issued when no plain, speedy and adequate legal remedy exists. In this case, the court's order is styled a temporary restraining order, from which no appeal lies. Further, even if the order could be properly appealed under NRAP3A(b)(2) as an order granting an injunction, the severe time constraints in operation would render an appeal an inadequate remedy. Thus, this matter is properly before us in the context of a petition for extraordinary relief.

This court may issue a writ of prohibition to arrest the proceedings of a district court exercising its judicial functions, when such proceedings are in excess of the jurisdiction of the district court. A writ of mandamus, on the other hand, is available to compel the performance of an act that the law requires as a duty resulting from an office, trust or station, or to control an arbitrary or capricious exercise of discretion.

With respect to prohibition, petitioner asserts that, in resolving the real party interests' Federal Communications Act of 1934 (FCA) claim, the district court exceeded its jurisdiction. We agree.

Then a little farther down, on page #4, they conclude that "the district court manifestly abused its discretion determining that a contract existed between the parties."

(Emphasis mine above)

Before the Supreme Court's ruling, many pundits had already concluded that the Las Vegas judge was more interested in political activism, than he was following the law and they have been proven right after reading the Supreme Court's reasoning.

I was going to go through the Debate transcript here, but two things are stopping me, first Michelle Malkin live blogged the whole thing, so you can read it there and second, more importantly the first five pages of the transcript deals with race and gender and no issues.

How ridiculous is that for a presidential debate?

Page #6 an audience member even mentions this:

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Could we stop talking ?) race-based questions coming from you two? These are race-based questions. (Off mike) -- race-based and (gender ?)-based.

One word describes the whole 26 page transcript.....BORING.

The clowns haven't got a clue and every time I read through one of their debates, I understand why our country so very rarely elects Democratic presidents.

In the mean time, The Las Vegas Sun is saying that the lawsuit that we discussed here the other day, to try to block the Democratic Party from having caucus sites on the Strip is facing some legal challenges and hurdles.

U.S. District Court Judge James C. Mahan is to rule on the lawsuit Thursday; his decision could reverberate throughout Nevada and the national political contest.

A doctrine allows courts to throw out a challenge if the person bringing it has unduly delayed taking action, to the detriment of the opposing party.

Called the doctrine of laches, “it gives the court the power to say, even if a suit has merit, you’re bringing it up too late,” said Richard Hasen, a professor specializing in election law at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

It appeared that the plaintiffs, another legal expert said, “just waited too late in the day to entertain these types of issues.”

The doctrine is meant to prevent last-minute litigation when rules could have been challenged earlier, said Edward B. Foley, professor of law at Moritz College of Law and the director of the election law program at Ohio State University.

“The court is likely to ask: Why couldn’t they have brought this sooner? Why is it filed now?”

Supporters of the lawsuit have said they didn’t become aware of the caucus rules until recently, though the rules were passed by the state party in March.

Mark Ferrario, attorney for the five Democratic Party activists and the Nevada State Education Association, did not return calls for comment. But in his motion seeking a temporary restraining order, he argues that rules posted on the state party’s Web site are marked “draft.”

Even if the judge discounts the timing, Foley said, courts have largely given wide latitude to parties to come up with their own rules.

“This is arguably an internal party matter,” he said. “Case law from the U.S. Supreme Court gives considerable deference to parties.”

Last but not least, the Detroit Free Press is calling Hillary's Michigan victory, "empty" because her main ballot opponent "uncommitted" received about 40% of the vote.


[Update] Right Truth takes a second look at Obama and you need to see what she sees.