A federal court in Virginia has struck down a state law requiring the GOP’s pledged delegates to political conventions to vote for Trump as unconstitutional.
Lawyer Beau Correll – former chair of religious extremist Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) campaign in Virginia – sued and won, claiming that voting for Donald Trump at next week’s Republican National Convention would violate his constitutional right to free speech and free assembly.
Only 34.7% of Virginia’s Republican primary voters chose Trump, giving him 17 pledged delegates and another 16 of their 49 total delegates to Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who has since dropped out of the presidential race so he could break his promise to leave his seat in Congress to someone that will actually show up to work.
According to Correll’s Twitter account, this puts 20+ other states with similar rules “in play” for freethedelegates.com backers seeking to defeat the Republican rank and file’s choice of New York City’s Hater-in-Chief to run for our country’s highest office. The Republican party must still change its convention rules to allow delegates to vote their conscience, because his state’s election law only required that the candidate release any pledged delegates, but this frees 49 delegates to side against Trump if the convention’s rules are modified. Correll made two main complaints and the judge in Richmond, Virginia agreed with both.
Va. Code § 24.2-545(D) (“Section 545(D)”) violates Correll’s First Amendment right to free political speech, more specifically his individual right to “vote for a presidential nominee at a party’s nominating convention,” ”by stripping delegates” to the 2016 Republican National Convention “of their freedom to vote their conscience, or to vote consistent with party rules.” Count II alleges that Section 545(D) violates Correll’s First Amendment rights of free association, again “by stripping delegates” to the 2016 Republican National Convention “of their freedom to vote their conscience, or to vote consistent with party rules.”
This is a breaking story, so it’s uncertain exactly which states this court ruling will impact, but Correll’s assessment of the presumptive nominee for President is spot on.
“The national spotlight is on this convention,” Correll told the Washington Post and assembled outside the federal courthouse in Richmond. “Take a minute and ask yourself if we can do a lot better than Mr. Trump. We can do a lot better than Mr. Trump.”
Because Republicans could not possibly choose a person worse than Donald Trump.
Grant Stern is the Executive Editor of Occupy Democrats and published author. His new Meet the Candidates 2020 book series is distributed by Simon and Schuster. He's also mortgage broker, community activist and radio personality in Miami, Florida., as well as the producer of the Dworkin Report podcast. Grant is also an occasional contributor to Raw Story, Alternet, and the DC Report, and a senior advisor to the Democratic Coalition