RNLA Member James Bopp, Jr., wrote a nice informative blog post over at The Hill yesterday discussing convention delegates and the current RNC rules. Now, most familiar with the situation know that the idea of a revolt on the floor has been an impossibility for some time. Yet, the mainstream media and liberals continue to try and resuscitate the movement like voters from beyond the grave in California.
James Bopp points out with a high level of specificity the reality of the situation. GOP delegates are legitimately bound, deal with it, as the alternative would likely result in the destruction of the Republican Party itself.
The advocates of this view say they want to “Free the Delegates” or affirm their right of “conscience” and they cite GOP Convention history, a Supreme Court decision, and current RNC Rules to support their position. They are right about history, but wrong about Supreme Court precedent and current RNC Rules. Absent the adoption of a contrary RNC Rule, state party rules and state laws which bind delegates are legally valid and respect for the Rule of Law requires that delegates vote in accordance with these requirements.
Throughout the blog post, Bopp goes on to debunk David French of National Review’s three main points that he contends could potentially free up delegates at the Convention. French’s three main points consisted of the following.
“1. State legislatures cannot violate the First Amendment rights of Republican delegates.”
. . . [T]he First Amendment right here is not an individual right of each delegate but a right of political association that requires the association to act. So Mr. French overstates his point by a slight of hand, while correctly arguing that the First Amendment protects political party rules against contrary state laws, he erroneously characterizes it as “the First Amendment rights of Republican delegates.” Delegates have no individual First Amendment right to vote as they please contrary to a state law. . . .
“2. Traditional and current Republican rules and practices allow delegates to vote their conscience.”
Of course, it is true that, through most of its history, delegates were not bound by any state party rule or state law to vote for any particular candidate at the GOP national convention. Historically and now, delegates are selected by state party conventions or caucuses, and only rarely by election in a primary by the voters – this is why our primaries are called “Presidential preference primaries.”
But as primaries have become more popular in order to gauge grassroots Republican support for a particular candidate, state laws and state party rules that bind delegates to the results of these primaries have also become more popular. So the critical issue is what do the RNC Rules say about this. . . .
“3. If the Republican Party wishes to bind delegates to Trump, it will have to change the rules to do so.”
This is just not so. As explained, state party rules and state laws are currently valid and enforceable, since there is no RNC Rule that prohibits them. So the shoe is on the other foot. A RNC Rule prohibiting binding must be adopted by the National Convention, to be effective at the 2016 Convention, to relieve delegates of their state binding. Certainly those advocating a “conscience amendment” implicitly understand this and they are right. . . .
The entire post is worth reading for those somewhat familiar with the rules and certainly to those with little knowledge of the process.
Bopp also penned an article discussing why any changes to the rules of the Convention should not take effect until the Convention adopting the change adjourns. Attempts to change the convention rules themselves could have a devastating effect on the party itself.