Va. Anti-Trump Delegate Wins Convention Voting Suit | NBC 10 Philadelphia
Decision 2016

Decision 2016

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Va. Anti-Trump Delegate Wins Convention Voting Suit

The ruling likely won't have an effect on the Virginia delegation's vote, but the man who filed the lawsuit counts his victory as symbolic



    NBC Washington
    Carroll Beau Correll Jr.

    A federal judge has thrown out a Virginia law binding all state delegates to the Republican National Convention to vote for the primary winner, Donald Trump.

    Carroll Beau Correll Jr., of Winchester, filed the lawsuit last month against Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring and other state officials. Correll said he would rather face a criminal charge than betray his conscience and vote for Trump.

    "Requiring delegates to vote for any candidate is unconstitutional and today's announcement is a blow to Trump's efforts," Correll said.

    Judge Robert E. Payne heard testimony during a hearing in Richmond Thursday, and made the ruling Monday afternoon.

    Correll argued that being forced to vote against his conscience is a violation of his First Amendment rights. Outside the federal courthouse Thursday, Correll said Republicans can do better than Trump and hopes the ruling sparks the GOP to pick a different candidate.

    Herring argued Correll knew what the rules were for delegates when he applied to be one and shouldn’t be allowed to invalidate the results of the primary.

    The decision likely won't affect next week's convention because convention rules require delegates to vote for the primary winner on the first ballot.

    And the ruling issued Monday by a federal judge in Richmond is limited in scope. It means that delegates cannot be obligated to vote in a winner-takes-all fashion, as stated in an obscure portion of Virginia election law. But the law in question was so obscure that Republicans had already decided to allocate delegates in a proportional fashion, based on the results of the state's March 1 primary, which Trump won. The ruling leaves that unchanged.

    Spencer Platt/Getty Images

    Still, Correll counted the ruling as a symbolic victory.

    "Requiring delegates to vote for any candidate is unconstitutional and today's announcement is a blow to Trump's efforts," Correll said.

    Trump won Virginia's March 1 primary with about 35 percent of the vote, netting 17 delegates during the first round of voting at the convention. Delegates are unbound if there is a second round of voting. His supporters scoffed at the notion that the ruling will have any noticeable effect.

    "It will have no impact on the Virginia delegation," said John Fredericks, a Trump supporter who fought the lawsuit. "Nor will it have any long term ramification for Donald Trump's quest for the nomination on the first ballot."

    Carl Court/Getty Images