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.
The WSJ article concludes with:
Whatever happens in Cleveland, Mr. Correll’s lawsuit is worth following as an attempt to clarify for the future that state governments can’t dictate how parties nominate presidential candidates. That power belongs to the people.
If the WSJ had researched Virginia law they would have learned that the state doesn’t set the rules for party conventions, the party does, as explained yesterday by Mick Staton here.
When the 2016 convention begins, the rules committee will report the rules governing the convention. The rules committee could vote to unbind all the delegates on the first ballot but it is highly unlikely. Should Mr. Correll or any other delegate not vote according to party rules they will be deemed to have resigned as a delegate and an alternate delegate will fill their seat.