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Va. GOP delegate files lawsuit over bound convention votes


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A Virginia delegate to the Republican National Convention filed a class action lawsuit in federal court Friday challenging a state law that binds delegates to support the primary winner at the nominating convention.

The outcome of the lawsuit could have significant implications for Donald Trump's nomination, as it will be a test case of a key argument being pushed by some Trump opponents who want to see him stopped at a contested convention.


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This will be very interesting to watch. Thanks!

I'm not a legal scholar, nor have I ever played one on TV, but I'm not sure about the 1st Amendment basis for the complaint. Especially if, as the link puts it: "They argue that state laws requiring delegates to vote for a specific candidate are unconstitutional, on the grounds that they violate the First Amendment's protection of the right to assemble..." I mean, technically they are being allowed to assemble, just being told how to vote. And 'freedom to assemble' does not necessarily mean freedom to crash a private function being paid for by someone else, the National Republican Party in this case.

Freedom of speech would seem to be a more appropriate 1st Amendment claim. But again, does the 1st Amendment even apply? It protects the people from government intrusion on liberties. Party conventions are not official government actions or affairs.

The wording of the actual complaint--"The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees delegates to the Republican Party's and Democratic Party's national conventions the right to vote their conscience, free from government compulsion, when participating in the selection of their party's presidential nominee." sounds more like a free speech argument than an assembly argument, so maybe NBC just focused on the wrong thing.

Just my personal 2 cents:

I'm not sure why government, federal or state, should be involved in the nominating process, telling parties how to choose their delegates, or telling delegates/parties what internal rules to follow. The General Election in November is the first official government vote, when state/federal authority really kicks in constitutionally.. Until then, I agree that both states and the feds have a duty to make sure everyone plays by the same rules, that no one breaks the law, that the qualifying process is fair to all with reasonable access to qualify and run, and also reasonable and fair deadlines for qualifying, printing ballots, etc. But let each party decide for itself how to run its convention and its voting rules for delegates.

(It even seems a bit unfair to me for states to spend public funds conducting primaries: Those funds and primaries provide publicity and assistance to the major parties that independents or minor parties don't get access to.)

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