This is a huge win for the Republican Party, and vindicates the principle that the Party has the right to govern itself.
Long story short: some Campbell residents were upset at the budget cutting and other acts of fiscal conservatism of the Campbell County Board of Supervisors. Recognizing that control of the local GOP machinery was necessary to steer nominations to candidates friendlier to their preferred policies, these citizens began encouraging Democrats and other non-Republicans to participate in the mass meeting where loyal Republicans were then slated off the Campbell County Republican Committee, and the county’s delegation to the 5th District Convention.
The appeals process ended badly for the slaters, when the State Central Committee ruled that the mass meeting was invalid because of the encouraged participation of Democrats and other non-members. Not satisfied with that, the slaters decided to haul the Party into court–apparently on the theory that the Party couldn’t handle the expense of litigation and might possibly offer a settlement like what was reached in the Second District.
That also ended badly for them, as the judge today adopted the Party’s reasoning completely, ruling that courts should not inject themselves into intra-party affairs, particularly when, as here, the dispute centered on fundamental First Amendment associational and speech rights. Just as we said the courts would rule when these threats were getting tossed around in August.
The Party still faces a lawsuit in Fauquier County, where the facts are fairly similar, but where the plaintiffs actually took even fewer measures than they did in Campbell to screen out non-members from their internal Party election. We are hoping the court there finds the Campbell County ruling instructive.
Again, this win is huge. For years a certain set of consultants have loved to browbeat Party officials with threats of lawsuits if they don’t get their way. As of today, those threats ring hollow.