The lawyers are coming

From this week’s Economist

But the fact remains that even after her wins this week, [Mrs Clinton] is well behind in the race for elected delegates, by roughly 1,360 to 1,220. That might not sound that much. But delegates are awarded proportionally and there are now only ten states left in play, some of them favourable to Barack Obama. He will almost certainly finish ahead in terms of elected delegates. So, Mrs Clinton’s only hope is to persuade the 796 “superdelegates” (members of Congress, senior party officials and other bigwigs) to reverse the elected delegate outcome—and push her over the 2,025 target.

This is where everything could turn ugly (and it is hardly pleasant at the moment). Mrs Clinton will need to present the superdelegates with an excuse to overturn the verdict of all those caucuses and primaries. It is still possible that she could win the popular vote, especially if she triumphs in Pennsylvania: that would help her case enormously. She will also no doubt point out that she has won in all of America’s biggest states, bar Illinois and Georgia, as well as several swing states, including Ohio. But Mr Obama will have powerful arguments of his own, such as his appeal to independents and his victory in Virginia. So the chances are that Mrs Clinton sooner or later will resort to a somewhat legal approach: asking the superdelegate-judges in effect to dismiss the verdict of the first trial on the basis that the procedure was unfair.

Imagine the scene: a posse of (mostly white) VIPs overturning a popular choice: a black man.