Nothing else has gone as expected this election year, so it’s no surprise that some Republican delegates are pushing for a party conscience rule to unbind them from having to support Donald Trump at the national convention. They may get an assist from a lawsuit filed Friday charging that a Virginia law that binds delegates violates the First Amendment.
Beau Correll is a longtime Republican who was chosen as a delegate to the national convention at a state party convention in April. Yet a Virginia statute says that because the state GOP also held a presidential primary, Mr. Correll and all 49 Virginia delegates must vote for the winner of that primary. Violation is a misdemeanor subject to jail and fines.
Mr. Trump won Virginia’s primary with 34.7% of the vote, but Mr. Correll says he “cannot, in good conscience, cast a ballot for Donald Trump.” His lawsuit, filed in federal court in Richmond by David Rivkin of Baker & Hostetler, asserts that “Correll stands in jeopardy of criminal prosecution and punishment for exercising his First Amendment rights of speech and association to vote for a candidate other than Donald Trump.”
This is a powerful legal argument that deserves to be heard on the merits. Political parties are private entities whose purpose is to meet to nominate a presidential candidate. The Supreme Court has ruled, in Cousins v. Wigoda (1975), that, “The States themselves have no constitutionally mandated role in the great task of the selection of Presidential and Vice-Presidential candidates.” It’s hard to see how Virginia could trump Mr. Correll’s right of speech and association.Read the rest of this WSJ op-ed HERE and view a related video below:
If you like what you see, please "Like" us on Facebook either here or here. Please follow us on Twitter here.