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In an attempt to impede three voters’ efforts to halt recounts in four Florida counties, the Florida Democratic Party filed a response pleading Thursday in the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The Florida Democratic Party has intervened as an appellee in the voters’ suit against county canvassing boards, the Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris and other members of the Florida Elections Canvassing Commission. The party also intervened in a similar suit on appeal from the Southern District of Florida in which presidential candidate George W. Bush and vice-presidential candidate Dick Cheney are plaintiffs. The party had not filed a brief in that case as of press time. The Florida Democratic Party argues that the federal courts should not intervene in a process that constitutionally should belong to the states. State attorneys general in Connecticut, Iowa, New Mexico and Oregon also jointly filed an amicus curiae brief to prevent federal courts from intervening in the recount process. The four attorneys general say that they have an interest in preserving their own electoral process without intervention by the federal government. The Florida Democratic Party’s response argues: � A remedy of injunction can only be granted by the circuit court if it finds that the Florida district court abused its discretion in failing to grant an injunction. Because the district court correctly found that the plaintiffs did not have a likelihood of success on the merits of the case, the Florida Democrats argue that the circuit court cannot find that the district court abused its discretion. � The plaintiff’s injunctive relief is sought “without any demonstration that the [p]laintiffs will suffer any harm if the status quo remains undisturbed.” � The plaintiff voters have not demonstrated a substantial likelihood of success on the merits of the case for following reasons: � The circuit court lacks subject matter jurisdiction over the recount dispute because “all controversies and contests as to the manner in which electors are selected must be resolved by the state.” The party cites Supreme Court case law to argue that the Constitution confers on the states the power to establish the manner in which the state’s presidential electors are chosen. � “[P]recepts of federalism” prevent the circuit court from intervening in a state’s vote-counting process. No constitutional question has been raised in this case, the Florida Democratic Party says. To constitute a federal constitutional claim, the party argues, the challenge “must go well beyond the ordinary dispute over the counting and marking of ballots.” For a federal court to be involved in this case, the party says, would be a “grave overreaching of its authority.” � Fla. Stat. Ann. Sec. 102.166, which applies to voting recounts, does not violate the equal protection clause or deny due process. The Florida Democratic Party argues that the plaintiffs are not alleging any discrimination, an improper denial of their right to vote, or any fraudulent interference with their right to vote. There is no due process violation here, the Florida Democrats say, because there is no proof that the application of Florida’s vote recounting statutes have been applied in an unfair manner. � The threatened injury to the plaintiffs does not outweigh potential harm to the various county canvassing boards caused by an injunction. Because the plaintiffs will still be able to bring their case to state court, argues the party, any injury caused by the denial of the requested injunction will not be irreparable. � The granting of an emergency injunction would “disserve public interest” by delaying the entire election process. The public, argue the Florida Democrats, “is entitled to all the facts sooner rather than later, even as the Florida courts sort out the various legal claims about the process.” The state attorneys’ general amicus brief argues: � The federal courts lack jurisdiction to address the plaintiffs’ claim because there is no constitutional violation of law involved in this case. Also, the selection of presidential electors should be reserved to the states. � Principles of federalism dictate that the circuit court should abstain from deciding this case. Florida state courts are more appropriate forums for addressing plaintiffs’ contentions. Adequate state review is available to the plaintiffs because the recount issue concerns an administrative order based upon local factors, say the attorneys general. Intervention of a federal court is not necessary for the protection of federal rights.

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