Holland & Knight Successfully Defends Republican National Committee in Delegate Reduction Case
TAMPA (January 3, 2012) — On December 11, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit upheld the dismissal of a lawsuit against Holland & Knight client Republican National Committee (RNC) and its chairman, Reince Priebus, brought by Pinellas County Republican Ralph Emmanuelli and The Hillsborough Hispanic Coalition, Inc.
The suit stems from Florida lawmakers' decision to hold the 2012 presidential primary earlier than planned, an action that broke Republican Party rules. As a consequence, the RNC reduced Florida's Republican convention delegates.
Mr. Emmanuelli and the Coalition argued that the RNC's delegate-reduction penalty violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution and Section Two of the Voting Rights Act. Furthermore, they accused the RNC of "underenfranchising" Hispanic Republican voters by allowing early voting states with comparatively small percentages of Republican Hispanic voters to control the early election process and debate topics.
Ultimately, the plaintiffs were unable to prove that the RNC was a "state actor" and the three-judge panel sided with Mr. Priebus.
Holland & Knight partners Stacy Blank, Joe Varner and Brad Kimbro led the team representing the RNC and Mr. Priebus.