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Lawsuit may determine outcome of Democratic nomination. Continued Election 2008 Coverage

As it stands now, the Democratic Party nomination process will drag on until at least late April. However, it is very likely that neither Obama or Clinton will get enough delegates to ensure victory.

It could all come down to lawsuits in Florida and Michigan. Both states were stripped of their delegates for moving their primaries to far ahead. All Democratic candidates signed a “pledge” not to campaign in Michigan or Florida. However, while Obama, Edwards, Biden, and Dodd removed their names from the Michigan ballot, Clinton did not and thus won the state unopposed. Florida law did not allow candidates to remove their names. Clinton won, but the Obama camp accuses Clinton of violating the pledge not to campaign in Florida.

If the courts were to order the DNC to accept delegates from Michigan and Florida, Clinton would get all of them. Florida and Michigan originally constituted 7.7% of all Democratic delegates. A windfall that would likely cause Clinton to win, and Obama supporters to scream with rage that “Clinton cheated and stole the election.”

Multiple scenarios exist that would tear the Democratic party apart. Either a brutal bout in August at the convention. A situation were Obama wins the most votes in primaries and caucuses but loses because of the high number of “superdelegates” voting for Clinton. A near tie or Obama lead which is broken by the courts when Florida and Michigan delegates are awarded to Clinton.

Read this excellent article about the situation in the Wall Street Journal.