As we reported yesterday, three supporters of Donald Trump sued the Virginia State Board of Elections to stop the implementation of the Virginia Republican Party’s requirement of a statement of affiliation for participation in the March 1 GOP presidential primary. At the State Board’s request, the judge added RPV as a defendant.
In an order issued minutes ago, the judge denied the Plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction that would have halted the SBE’s plans to mail out copies of the Statement of Affiliation with GOP absentee ballots. In doing so, the judge noted very little likelihood the plaintiffs’ constitutional arguments would succeed, for the reasons we noted yesterday.
The court’s order leaves room for modification or removal of the requirement between now and March 1, but the road forward for the plaintiffs does not look very good.
A copy of the judge’s order, which makes for interesting reading, is embedded below:
I have hesitated in writing further comments on this issue as I had sincerely hoped it would all just blow over and I have no axe to grind on the issue. As those that comment here regularly may realize my main issue with this voter pledge has always focused on the type and nature of the media publicity (a significant majority of it negative) that this issue has showered down on Republicans at the state and national level. I also have been hesitant given that I have been informed, although I have no direct knowledge that this is indeed correct, that an editorial member of this blog had direct input into the creation of the original pledge statement prior to it being modified by the SBE. What disturbs me somewhat in this particular article, while correct in factual content it seems to put a significant slant in my reading on the actual events that occurred in yesterday’s ruling, not necessarily by commission but rather omission. I think it is always the best policy in any opinion blog to provide full disclosure on any author’s potential conflicts of interest in reporting events. That is just my personal opinion and I don’t expect everyone to agree, but I know that I read all material with that context always in mind.
U.S. District Judge Hannah M. Lauck’s ruling yesterday came with a very clearly communicated statement that at this “early stage” (the plaintiffs) have failed to show a likelihood of success on the merits of their constitutional claims. As I read this ruling she clearly made the point that the submission of the initial complaint was not constructed in a manner to warrant the likelihood of success on it merits. A key term here being at this early stage strongly implying that a restructuring of the complaint might produce a more considered review. This is hardly a slam dunk shutdown ruling event. Indeed she followed this statement up with a more curious comment in her four-page order denying the request for a preliminary injunction, in also stating the case “raises matters of significant concern” about the Virginia SBE’s duties to avoid voter confusion and run an orderly election. You may be willing to dismiss this away as just non binding comments from the bench but it does put a somewhat different slant on the thinking of this particular judge in her ruling on the matter. Indeed, Chester Smith, attorney for the plaintiffs post ruling public statement reemphasized how strongly his clients felt about the issue realizing and anticipating there would be obstacles but that they fully intention to press forward with legal action. Not being a lawyer myself I may be displaying a somewhat naive attitude to the typical post case ruling reaction of client and legal representation after a failed injunction ruling but I have this sense this may not be quite as dead as is being projected here for whatever reasons.
I will work hard for Trump to ensure voters are not disenfranchised on election day.
Agree. Trump supporters are more engage than ever because of this issue.
One thing I’m missing here is that for decades having a pledge was the conservative view because it kept Democrats from corrupting our process and electing RINOs. This is the only time I’ve seen conservatives fighting against a pledge. Do conservatives go back to fighting for the pledge next year? It seems hypocritical to me to play both sides depending on the candidate you’re supporting. This is a strange election year!
Don’t generalize, Glenn. Many Conservatives had no problem with this. I consider most of the opposition to be unremittingly silly.
Good. Republicans have the right to nominate the candidate that will represent the Republican Party. Democrats, Independents, Socialists, Libertarians, etc. will have the opportunity to cast their vote and that’s called a general election.
Nah, they can Ballot for Bernie.
Now the RPV has angered me, not such a big deal in the grand scheme. But I will never donate to them and any scurrilous candidates like Comstock will be held accountable as much as possible. How much in donations did it take to win this case, too much! This is the good old boy network losing their base. I will sign, vote and then work my ass off to defeat candidates supported by the rpv. We have idiots telling us gun laws will protect us and now idiots tell us are votes are pure and safe because of this statement. Jokes on you and yours whitbeck.
Actually, it was your taxes (paying the State Board’s lawyers) that won this case, not your donations to RPV. RPV did very little, judging from the case records. (In fairness, RPV had no time to do a lot.)
My sentiments exactly!