This whole mess surrounding the state delegations from Florida and Michigan is a result of the Rules & Bylaws Committee of the Democratic National Committee not strictly adhering to the 2008 Delegate Selection Rules for the Democratic National Convention by applying the rules equally and fairly to all states.
Rule 11.A. of the Delegate Selection Rules for the 2008 Democratic National Convention states the following:
11. TIMING OF THE DELEGATE SELECTION PROCESSA. No meetings, caucuses, conventions or primaries which constitute the first determining stage in the presidential nomination process (the date of the primary in primary states, and the date of the first tier caucus in caucus states) may be held prior to the first Tuesday in February or after the second Tuesday in June in the calendar year of the national convention. Provided, however, that the Iowa precinct caucuses may be held no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the Nevada first-tier caucuses may be held no earlier than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February; that the New Hampshire primary may be held no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February; and that the South Carolina primary may be held no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February. In no instance may a state which scheduled delegate selection procedures on or between the first Tuesday in February and the second Tuesday in June 1984 move out of compliance with the provisions of this rule.
We already know that Florida and Michigan violated Rule 11.A. by moving their primaries to a date before the first Tuesday in February. There is no argument there, but what about Iowa, New Hampshire, and yes, South Carolina too.
Rule 11.A specifically set the date for the primaries & caucuses for those three states as "no earlier than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February" (Iowa), "no earlier than 14 days before the first Tuesday in February" (New Hampshire), and "no earlier than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February" (South Carolina).
Iowa held their caucuses on January 3rd. That's more than 22 days before the first Tuesday in February. New Hampshire held their primary on January 8th. That's more than 17 days before the first Tuesday in February. And South Carolina held their primary on January 26th. That's more than 7 days before the first Tuesday in February.
Under Rule 11.A., five states were in violation of the Democratic National Committee's Delegate Selection Rules, and as such, all five states should have been punished under Rule 20.C.1.a.
Violation of timing: In the event the Delegate Selection Plan of a state party provides or permits a meeting, caucus, convention or primary which constitutes the first determining stage in the presidential nominating process to be held prior to or after the dates for the state as provided in Rule 11 of these rules, or in the event a state holds such a meeting, caucus, convention or primary prior to or after such dates, the number of pledged delegates elected in each category allocated to the state pursuant to the Call for the National Convention shall be reduced by fifty (50%) percent, and the number of alternates shall also be reduced by fifty (50%) percent. In addition, none of the members of the Democratic National Committee and no other unpledged delegate allocated pursuant to Rule 8.A. from that state shall be permitted to vote as members of the state's delegation. In determining the actual number of delegates or alternates by which the state's delegation is to be reduced, any fraction below .5 shall be rounded down to the nearest whole number, and any fraction of .5 or greater shall be rounded up to the next nearest whole number.
Under Rule 20.C.1.a., Florida, Iowa, Michigan, New Hampshire, and South Carolina would have all lost their super delegates and had their pledged delegates reduced by half since they all violated Rule 11.A.
However, Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina weren't punished fairly. In fact, they weren't punished at all.
And what about Florida & Michigan?
Well, we all know what happened to them.
Instead of strictly adhering to Rule 20.C.1.a. and reducing their pledged delegates by 50%, the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee decided to take it a step further. The DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee exercised the authority granted to them by Rules 20.C.5. and 20.C.6. which allowed them to "impose sanctions the Committee deems appropriate." And what were those sanctions the Committee deemed appropriate? Stripping two of the largest states in the union of their votes at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.
Ladies & Gentlemen, this is what happens when the rules aren't applied equally and fairly. This mess is a result of the DNC Rules & Bylaws Committee not applying the rules equally and fairly.