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Court: Casino Caucuses Allowed

Shift workers on the Las Vegas Strip will be able to caucus as planned, a judge ruled. (Reuters)

By Paul Kane
A federal judge in Las Vegas brushed aside a lawsuit trying to shut down nine casino precinct sites for the Nevada Democratic caucuses, handing an important victory to Sen. Barack Obama's bid in the Silver State Saturday.

U.S. District Judge James C. Mahan rejected the argument from a state teachers' union that participants in the at large casino precincts would be a "preferred class of voters" based on the delegates awarded at those sites vs. other neighborhood-based precincts. Mahan, siding with lawyers for the Democratic National Committee, said federal law "recognizes the parties have the right to determine how to apportion delegates," according to the Las Vegas Sun.

The DNC, working with Nevada Democratic officials, approved the plan last summer to include the unusual at-large precincts housed in ballrooms at casinos along Las Vegas's famed "Strip". The debate over the at-large sites intensified in the last week after the Culinary Workers Union Local 226 -- with 60,000 employees, mostly in the casinos -- endorsed Obama. While all shift workers on duty Saturday afternoon within a 2.5-mile radius of the Strip are allowed to participate, the casino caucus sites are expected to be dominated by the culinary union. That union's employees have organized in almost every hotel casino on the Strip, including all nine casinos hosting caucuses.

Those casino precincts will award up to 720 delegates, depending on turnout at the at-large sites, while the other precincts will award about 10,000 delegates to the state's presidential nominating convention later this year. If the at-large voters caucus overwhelmingly in Obama's favor, as the Clinton campaign privately suspects will occur, Obama could have a 5% to 6% edge in overall delegates just from the vote in those sites.

In public appearances this week, former president Bill Clinton has grown heated when discussing the issue. "The rules should be the same for everybody, and everybody's vote should count the same," Clinton told a San Francisco reporter yesterday.

The Nevada State Education Association, along with several individuals, filed its suit asking for the judge to shutter the casino sites shortly after the Obama endorsement. The suit contended that the delegates at the casino sites were weighted too heavily, violating the equal protection clause of the Constitution. But the DNC argued that it has the right, along with state parties, to establish rules for its nomination process, saying the suit was a last-minute effort designed to confuse the issue.

"If the door is opened to last-minute judicial challenges seeking to re-write the rules in state delegation selection plans, the entire nomination process could be thrown into confusion and chaos," the DNC lawyers argued.

By Web Politics Editor  |  January 17, 2008; 3:03 PM ET
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Posted by: laplumelefirmament | January 18, 2008 3:52 PM | Report abuse

The ruling, while being quite correct, only points out a poor decision by Democratic Party officials.

We will now see a very un-democratic system of low paid workers having to caucus in front of their employers and union officials.

Posted by: thepoliticalpost | January 18, 2008 3:01 PM | Report abuse

As for equal protection - every one of you has the same right to form a political party and invent its crazy rules - the same as anyone else.

If you don't like the dems or repubs you can be an independent like me.

If Norwegians want to form a party and nominate a (natural citizen >35) to be a the US presidential candidate - more power to them - so long as their funding is legal and transparent.

You too can form a party - that's equality.
Democrats exclude republicans from their caucus - so it's already "unequal" access by the time the caucus starts.

Posted by: Benjamin2007 | January 18, 2008 12:38 PM | Report abuse

The Clinton campaign just tripped over their own trap. Funny that their own people set up a sytem they called "rigged" and now they are complaining about it. Even better yet their best argument is that Hillary and her staff failed to see the flaws in their own methods. EXACTLY!!! Please recall: Hillary Care, IRAQ, IRAN, The Patriot Act, Consumer Protection Act and now this..failure after failure. But wait it gets better! Bill Clinton reasons "You need to know how a [person] deals with failure." How about not failing so much in the first place?

-Adam Schifter

Posted by: aschifter1 | January 18, 2008 9:56 AM | Report abuse

Way too many verbal bombs are being thrown back and forth on this lawsuit. I do not know whether the Clinton campaign had anything to do with it. I do know that they should have denounced it this week as an attempt to prevent some Democrats from voting. They didn't. Indeed, they finally went around defending the lawsuit and expressed disappointment about today's ruling. The leadership at the Nevada State Education Association was either lazy or incompetent in not examining the caucus rules and working to ensure their membership could participate. Their last minute effort to disenfranchise the workers at the unionized hotels in Las Vegas would have achieved "fairness" by denying caucus votes to many workers whose shifts left them with no prospect of participating in their home precincts. This lawsuit was a wolf in sheep's clothing pretending to support fairness. I am happy that it was thrown out.

Posted by: karlanne1 | January 17, 2008 10:25 PM | Report abuse

I remember an earlier article written by Paul Kane that shed some light on the latest news from Nevada: The suit was widely expected by state party officials as well as Obama's campaign and the powerful Culinary Workers Union 226, which earlier this week endorsed the Illinois senator in advance of the Jan. 19 Nevada caucus. That endorsement had been eagerly sought by Obama as well as Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.) and former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.), and by yesterday afternoon culinary union leaders told the Washington Post they expected an outside group with ties to Clinton to file a motion seeking to quash the casino caucuses.
The Nevada State Education Association, some of whose top leaders have individually endorsed Clinton, filed the suit and is using a law firm with close ties to the onetime front-runner, Kummer, Kaempfer, Bonner, Renshaw, and Ferrario. Former congressmen James H. Bilbray (D-Nev.), a lawyer at that firm, has endorsed Clinton and is stumping for her in the Silver State.
"The Democratic Party of Nevada has violated the principle of 'one person, one vote' by creating at-large precincts for certain caucus participants, based solely on the employment of such participants," the suit alleges.
Babies cry, because they want what they want when they want it. All that posturing by the Clinton's, and then Bill arguing with a reporter as if he is an Obama supporter because they want what they want when they want it. This is the second time that the Clinton Camp has not followed the DNC: the first was placing their name on the Michigan ballot after the state went against the party to hold an early Primary. The result, no delegates. The Clinton's need to remember that they are members of the Democratic Party; they are NOT THE Party.

Posted by: jrev7620042000 | January 17, 2008 10:21 PM | Report abuse

It was a stupid thing to do, but, they don't own stupid. Stupid is a Democrat Candidate that aligns himself with a Republican President that began destroying the working class and attacked and detroyed unions. Remember the Air Traffic Controllers?

Posted by: ztormtra | January 17, 2008 10:18 PM | Report abuse

I think its un-democratic to be voting at work especially caucuses type voting which is public where your bosses and union bosses watch your every move.
How can that be democratic.
Sounds more like Russian voting.

Obama supports this?
Noodle head for sure.

Posted by: hhkeller | January 17, 2008 9:51 PM | Report abuse

I voted for Bill twice, but must admit I have really learned to despise him - and his nepotist wife - during these primaries and caucuses. Their blatant lying and dishonesty is on par with the worst of the Republicans. I have voted a straight Democratic line in presidential elections for over thirty years - often holding my nose when filling in the oval for true stinkers like Dukakis and Kerry... But I cannot, will not be able to bring myself to vote for Hillary Clinton should she and her Campaign of Hopelessness secure the nomination.

Posted by: pachyder | January 17, 2008 7:58 PM | Report abuse


I was not aware that there's such a huge, groundswell of support for Clinton from illegal immigrants to overcome even the 1% chance that they get caught by voting -- don't most of them try to keep their heads down and avoid exactly these type of encounters -- that's why we need Romney's or Huckabee's immigration reform!

Posted by: JakeD | January 17, 2008 7:53 PM | Report abuse

'Rock the Vote!' isn't just a term, it is a song I wrote that recalls how these Dems would rather rock our confidence in the system than be authentic.

This is just one of 12 tunes that this police officer wrote--one of a kind stuff @

Posted by: Truscott1 | January 17, 2008 7:50 PM | Report abuse

****LIBERAL TRUTH ALERT!!!!*******

Say what you want, but I am laying down a few facts, not feelings:

The Clintons just tried to undue the causcus process in Nevada, something they never tried to do before, and only after the culinary workers got behind Obama.

Bill Clinton was called on it and summoned up that righteous Clinton indignation and said, " I wasn't behind that."
Interpreted: WE it depends on your definition of 'I.'

Their comments regarding the causcusing being tougher on 'outlying folks' was their attempt to pit white folks against the lesser paid and highly ethnic culinary workers--classic code Clinton class baiting.

Yeah...they 'Rock the Vote,' by rocking your confiidence in the paper ballots they needed to be electronic, until the last election, and now they are demanding paper AGAIN!

Hear my song 'Rock the Vote,' --my take on these lame jerks @

Posted by: Truscott1 | January 17, 2008 7:46 PM | Report abuse

The split between the Teachers' Union and the Culinary Workers reminds me of the battles (occationaly physical) between the AFL Unions and the CIO unions for influence in the Democratic coalition during the '30s, '40s & '50s. ("History", Mark Twain said, "doesn't repeat itself but it rimes.") Even though there are already real changes in this election, it is important to remember: "The more things change the more they remain the same

Posted by: Phrank1 | January 17, 2008 7:24 PM | Report abuse

I agree with most of the comments here, it's funny that when this plan was introduced and approved and Clinton thought she had Nevada in the bag there was no controversy. As soon as Obama secured the Culinary Union then all of a sudden it's an unfair advantage. It's a simple case of a big political machine trying to quiet the voices of a local grassroots movement making big changes and big progress.

Obama '08!

Posted by: rjordan1 | January 17, 2008 7:09 PM | Report abuse

D^CKHEAD CLINTON tries to 'shout-down' a reporter about 'CAUCUSES-at-CASINOS'!!! A disbarred-disgraced attorney, one D^CKHEAD CLINTON, yells about unfairness - AND NO ONE CARES!!! Ah D^CKHEAD no WHITE HOUSE 'PLAY-PEN' again for you or your 'BIMBETTES'!!!

Posted by: ZyskandarAJaimot | January 17, 2008 6:50 PM | Report abuse

It has been proven by local news organizations that the Culinary Union has embraced the undocumented worker. Through a reporter's undercover report more than 2 years ago, she was able to purchase forged official documents (Social Security card and a California License) through a local flea market for under $200.00.

Following that portion of the local news story, the reporter again went undercover and entered the Culinary Union to apply for membership and to be called for work. The television report showed the Culinary representative accepting the forged papers and even made a comment to the fact that next time try and get better quality documents.

As for the ability of the Culinary worker to become registered without legal resident status, remember these nine caucus locations are at large and will not have the complete registered Democratic list on hand. All a participant is required to do is show a work photo ID and sign a document that they swear to be a legal resident of the United States and are therefore eligible to vote. According to the Democratic party, no one will be on hand to verify any of the presented documents and while there is a $20,000 penalty for falsifying a federal document, it is up to the local authorities to check. Not even a state license is required so there is no way to verify even the legal residence of the person within Clark County or the state for that matter.

Whether you like Hillary or not, this is a total farce that will allow thousands of illegals to reach one step closer to permanent residence as this process will lead them to obtaining a federal voter registration card.

Posted by: exhsoft | January 17, 2008 6:11 PM | Report abuse

It wasn't Hillary or her campaign that brought the lawsuit. I'm glad the teachers' union stepped up to the plate to challenge the polling place caucuses as they are unfair, but since the reliable untainted U.S. District Court rules against fairness, it shows Gonzales's spirit still lurks. What about the grocery workers, construction, hospital workers...will there be caucusing there, too? Don't write Nevada off for Hilary just yet.

Will the ballots be in all the many different languages of the casino workers?

Posted by: mellowyellow | January 17, 2008 6:03 PM | Report abuse






Posted by: laplumelefirmament | January 17, 2008 5:19 PM | Report abuse

Now Hillary can shed a REAL tear.

"Spade work", denigrating Dr. Martin Luther King, etc. all are Clinton Inc. codespeak that Obama should get in the back of the bus.

Hillary, the child care advocate,seeking to prevent Hispanic mothers from voting while on the job.

The media should interview some Hispanic culinary mother asking why Hillary filed suit to stop her from voting.

Clinton Inc. will be much uglier this time.

Posted by: JaxMax | January 17, 2008 5:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm surprised Mr Kane didn't take note of a newspaper ad for a douche, or some such nonsense. I suppose this is progress.

Posted by: zukermand | January 17, 2008 5:08 PM | Report abuse

I salute Judge Mahan for a just decision.

Posted by: lhummer | January 17, 2008 5:01 PM | Report abuse

Although I am a known Obama supporter, I know the Clintons will win Nevada.

What the press hasn't been reporting is the real reason the Clintons have been playing the race card and started the union lawsuit fan the known racist tendencies of Hispanics against Blacks. They know they will lose South Carolina so they don't care about losing some Black support, but their only hope in Nevada was to turn the Hispanics in the Culinary Union more firmly against Blacks and Obama...and they have succeeded.

Watch the Hispanocs abandon their Union and vote for Hillary. The Clintons are playing them like mariachi guitars. And will drop them when they enter the White House.

Posted by: washpost01 | January 17, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse






Posted by: laplumelefirmament | January 17, 2008 4:55 PM | Report abuse

Mr. Bill blows smoke again! The court decides, as it should, that a ten month old agreement should stay in place and the caucus proceed as planned.

What both Clinton's don't get is that this is the latest episode in a "win at all costs" mode of operations. Johnson's apology today is in that same league as well.

We're going to be subjected to further b.s from both Clintons, but send Bill home or out to one of those Nevada ranches as he's muddied the picture so much that we can't tell if he's running for an unconstitutional third term or if Hillary is. Yet another loose cannon.

Posted by: Smokescreen | January 17, 2008 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Where is this proof that 50% of the unions members are illegal?

Or that illegal aliens will be allowed to caucus?

As I understand it, only registered voters are allowed to caucus, and, in order to register, one has to provide proof of citizenship. That eliminates illegals.

I am happy to see that this lawsuit was brushed aside. It lets us get on with the business at hand!

Posted by: ndolan622 | January 17, 2008 4:46 PM | Report abuse

The Clintonistas are revealing themselves as racists. With Hillary's anti-black comment last week, indicating that "colored folks" shouldn't be determining their own political representatives, and now being anti-Hispanic it is time to rid the party of Bill and Hillary, two privileged Anglos.

Posted by: sperrico | January 17, 2008 4:17 PM | Report abuse

Obama just said Reagan brought true change during his interview with right wing magazine.

This is the problem with wafflers, he tries to everything to everyone

Elite democrats, we don't know what you are thinking. See the light, joint the commoners in this battle to defeat the Repblican extremist.

Posted by: SeedofChange | January 17, 2008 4:16 PM | Report abuse


Where is your proof of this? I am pretty sure half of a union in Vegas is knowingly 50% illegals and able to vote. Stop being such a troll.

Thank god the judge saw through this crap.

Posted by: cbcpapa | January 17, 2008 4:14 PM | Report abuse


Yeah, who cares about that outdated "Equal Protection" Clause?!

Posted by: JakeD | January 17, 2008 4:11 PM | Report abuse

All of a sudden we have Clintonistas worried about illegal aliens! If the illegals won't vote for the "ice-queen" then deport them, says Billary.

Posted by: sperrico | January 17, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


What makes you think that people who are not registered to vote will be able to caucus?

Posted by: JakeD | January 17, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse

Well, common sense (oxymoron) prevails. The DNC set the rules long ago and now the Clintonistas want to change the rules of the game in mid-set. Nooo, you can't have your way all the time like some whiny child. Now HRC, go back to the sandbox and play nice (no pouting, no name-calling, no code-speak, no getting big bullies to fight your fights).

Posted by: meldupree | January 17, 2008 4:09 PM | Report abuse


You are missing a vital step #4 in your logic: is the Union encouraging / will the Democratic Party allow illegal immigrants to vote?

Posted by: JakeD | January 17, 2008 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Since 50% of the CUlinary workers are composed of illegal immigrants, you can rest assured that the results from the caucus will be worthless as they will be tainted by the votes of illegal immigrants. I don't see the Democrat caucus monitor making a move to prevent an illegal immigrant from taking part.

Posted by: Lavrat2000 | January 17, 2008 4:06 PM | Report abuse

It is indeed very important to the integrity of American democracy that all elections include American citizens ONLY.

The upcoming Democratic Nevada caucus will likely be the first significant "election" in which illegal immigrants dominate the outcome. The reasons are: 1. The large Culinary Workers Union, by it's own admission, is largely composed of illegals. 2. This union is backing O-BOMBA and is working to get the caucuses held in casinos, where the illegals/union members work 3. Since this is a caucus, not a state or federal election, the ground-rules for participation are controlled by the Democratic Party - which so far is supporting all the Culinary Workers Union's demands.

The outcome of the Nevada Democratic caucus will therefore be significantly affected by illegal immigrants. This is a new low in American democracy. It is yet another reason to do everything possible to ensue that ALL elections include ONLY American citizens.

Posted by: ImpeachNOW | January 17, 2008 4:01 PM | Report abuse

It looks like "Bubba" and the Alpha Female will lose Nevada. How come the "she-wolf" was able to run a monopoly in Michigan? I'll bet -1 that ole' Hillary fights to have Michigan's delegates seated at the convention.

Posted by: sperrico | January 17, 2008 3:59 PM | Report abuse

Just wait for the Clinton spin...faster than a Vegas roulette wheel and just as corrupt.

Posted by: wpost4112 | January 17, 2008 3:57 PM | Report abuse

In view of the fact that CUlinary Union members are composed of more than 50% illegal immigrants, you can rest assured that this process will be corrupted as illegal immigrants will caucus and the Dems and the Unions are too much of a group of "pander bears" to make sure illegals don't caucus. NEVADA, is a corrupt state!!

Posted by: Lavrat2000 | January 17, 2008 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Most of these posts read like playground taunts. Such immature discourse, sheesh.

Posted by: boomfleisher | January 17, 2008 3:51 PM | Report abuse

Forty percent of the Nevada Culinary Workers Union is Hispanic, so it'll be interesting to see how this demographic votes.

Las Vegas Review-Journal has endorsed Obama, this morning they endorsed Romney as the Republican pick.

Posted by: laloomis | January 17, 2008 3:48 PM | Report abuse

Well slick Willy and wife discovered they can only fool all of the people just some of the time. And Hillary knows she can't do the crying game act again and get away with it. Go Obama.

Posted by: rhbate | January 17, 2008 3:31 PM | Report abuse

Doesn't conventional wisdom suggest that if the Culinary Union had endorsed Clinton, there would not have been a lawsuit?

More Clinton nonsense.

Imagine what will happen if she wins.

Heaven help us all

Posted by: dcis1 | January 17, 2008 3:29 PM | Report abuse

Five to One, Hillary Cries!

Even Money-Obama gets caught Gambling with Campaign Finances!

Posted by: rat-the | January 17, 2008 3:28 PM | Report abuse

HAHA I'm soooo not suprised!


Vote OBAMA for president!

Posted by: onestring | January 17, 2008 3:27 PM | Report abuse

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