Teaching -- and Learning
Led Zeppelin Wins Copyright Infringement Case re: Stairway to Heaven (compare songs)

Virginia Republican's Lawsuit to Dump Trump Has Big Implications

Donald_Trump_August_19,_2015_(smallCarroll Boston Correll is a Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention, who said that he will not vote for Donald Trump at the convention, now way--despite a state law requires Mr. Correll to do so [24.2-545(D), VA Code] . 

Instead, Mr. Correll wants a federal court to strike down Section 545(D) as unconstitutionally violating his free speech and right to vote for the candidate of his choice.  He also argued that Section 545(D)--i.e., the law--conflicts with Republican Party rules.

I wonder whether Mr. Correll would feel differently about Section 545(D) if Marco Rubio had won Virginia's primary and if therefore, pro-Trump delegates had been legally forced to vote for Mr. Rubio at the convention.  We'll never know.

Anyway, Section 545(D) of the Virginia Code states:

D. The State Board shall certify the results of the presidential primary to the state chairman. If the party has determined that its delegates and alternates will be selected pursuant to the primary, the slate of delegates and alternates of the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary shall be deemed elected by the state party unless the party has determined another method for allocation of delegates and alternates. If the party has determined to use another method for selecting delegates and alternates, those delegates and alternates shall be bound to vote on the first ballot at the national convention for the candidate receiving the most votes in the primary unless that candidate releases those delegates and alternates from such vote.

According to Mr. Correll's complaint, the Republican party chose its delegates and alternates by a method other than the primary.  Thus, Mr. Correll and the other delegates must vote on the first ballot for the Republican candidate who got the most votes in the primary.

Mr. Trump received more votes than any other Republican candidate.  Thus, Section 545(D) requires Mr. Correll and the other delegates to vote for Mr. Trump on the first ballot of the convention.

I'm not an expert on Virginia election law.  But it seems that Virginia's legislature, in passing Section 545(D), wanted to make sure that Virginia's voters had some voice in who would become a political party's nominee for the presidential election--instead of letting a few party insiders pick the nominee over bourbon and cigars.

If that's the case, then bigger issues may be at stake than whether Mr. Trump succeeds at the convention. 

If the court rules for Mr. Correll, would that increase the power of political parties in the electoral process--at the expense of ordinary voters?

 TPM has a copy of the complaint that Mr. Correll filed in court.

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