Rocking the Vote…or the Boat? Delegate Lawsuit Controversy

“Well, if they have a legitimate argument that they can make and that’s what they want to do, I’m not going to say don’t do it. If they ask my advice, I’m going to say don’t. I didn’t motivate them to do it.”

Ron Paul (on delegate lawsuit)

A group of my fellow Paul supporters decided to get together with an attorney from California and file a lawsuit against the RNC, Reince Priebus, the Republican party of every state in America, and the chair of every state Republican party. The website for the lawsuit, which I will link below, claims that the purpose of the lawsuit is to clarify in court whether or not the national delegates that are going to Tampa are “bound” to vote for Mitt Romney, or if they can vote per their conscience. Sounds like a pretty straightforward argument, but there are many, many factors to consider…the most important being how the laws are interpreted and whether they pertain to delegates or the general election.

Election Fraud Remedy

Another factor that needs to be considered is whether or not these delegates followed proper procedure to address a complaint through the Republican National Committee. The Republican party is a private organization, and as such, is allowed to enforce their own rules. The lawsuit argues that since the Republican National Convention is a nominating convention for federal office, it is a “federal election”. Once again, an issue that needs clarification. According to 42 U.S.C. § 1971(d):

(b) Intimidation, threats, or coercion

No person, whether acting under color of law or otherwise, shall intimidate, threaten, coerce, or attempt to intimidate, threaten, or coerce any other person for the purpose of interfering with the right of such other person to vote or to vote as he may choose, or of causing such other person to vote for, or not to vote for, any candidate for the office of President, Vice President, presidential elector, Member of the Senate, or Member of the House of Representatives, Delegates or Commissioners from the Territories or possessions, at any general, special, or primary election held solely or in part for the purpose of selecting or electing any such candidate.

Notice, however, that the subsection is entitled, “Intimidation, threats, or coercion.” Now, this is open to interpretation. Is it the fault of the RNC and the state parties that people have been “threatened, intimidated, and coerced”, or does the fault lie with the Romney campaign? In one of my previous posts, I referenced that the MA delegates were ousted by the Romney campaign via the Allocation Committee. Does that mean that the state party of MA should be held responsible, or that the Romney campaign, being the decision maker, should be the party being sued? And, if the lawsuit is filed for the purpose of clarification and injunctive relief, why is it based on a section that deals with intimidation and discrimination due to race?

The complaint produces a letter written to National Committeewoman Nancy Lord of the Utah Republican party at the time of the 2008 conventions. It was written to clarify questions that the Utah party posed about binding, because Mitt Romney had dropped from the race and released his delegates to John McCain. One of their delegates wished to vote for Romney, even though he had dropped out. Jennifer Sheehan, assistant counsel for the RNC at the time (and no longer with them), had this to say:

“You are correct the answer is no. The national convention allows delegates to vote for the individual of their choice, regardless of whether the person’s name is officially placed into nomination or not.”

However, what Sheehan DID NOT explain was that in most circumstances, if the person was bound legally to vote for another candidate, that vote would not count. The situation in Utah was also very different: the delegate wanted to vote for a candidate that had already dropped out. Completely different from the current situation.

The original complaint cited a list of plaintiffs that were “national delegates.” We have since learned that not everyone on that list was a national delegate, particularly some of those from unbound caucus states. The complaint has been amended, but the damage has been done. Do we call credibility into question when a lawsuit is filed on behalf of delegates who are not what they say they are? You can read the original complaint here:


The RNC, accordingly, filed a motion to dismiss the suit. They cite protection from intrusion into internal affairs of the Republican party under the 1st and 14th amendments. In this, they are correct. Right of association and petition is guaranteed under the 1st amendment. They also believe that the lawsuit is frivolous, and want it dismissed on several grounds, specifically citing that there has been no violation of federal law. Here is the motion to dismiss:

RNC Motion to Dismiss

One need only to look at the 10th amendment to see that they have some protection there as well, since political parties were not in place at the time of the drafting of the Constitution. The 10th amendment states that “any power not delegated to the United States by the Constitution , nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” What that means is that unless a power is specifically enumerated to the Federal government, it is wholly up to the state and the people to decide. There is no mention of political parties in the Constitution, therefore, historically, their inner workings have fallen under the regulation of state laws and private affiliation. Thus, laws on binding delegates have been left up to the state.

In fact, there are rules that address this in the RNC’s Rules for the National Convention:

Under Rule #15:

(1) Delegates and alternate
delegates to the national convention may be elected,
selected, allocated, or bound only in one of the
following manners:
(i) by primary election;
(ii) by the Republican
state committee, where specifically provided by state
(iii) by state and
Congressional district conventions;
(iv) by any method
consistent with these rules by which delegates and
alternate delegates were elected, selected, allocated, or bound to the most recent Republican National
Convention from that state;
(v) by Rule No. 13 (a)(2)
of these rules.
States also has specific laws relating to delegate binding. You can read those here:

State laws GOP convention

At this point, I have to say that I agree with the RNC. I do believe that by entering into the lawsuit, the delegates have circumvented the process by which grievances are addressed in the GOP, and that they stand in danger of losing their seats. The attorney for the case, Richard Gilbert of Gilbert and Marlowe, has told delegates that they will not lose their seats. I have personally confirmed with Doug Wead, Presidential Historian and advisor to the Paul campaign, that this is simply not so…entire delegations have been removed for less…and for going over the GOP’s collective head, it’s very possible that these delegates may not be seated at all.

Other opponents of the lawsuit believe that delegates should be taking direction from the campaign itself, not those who have said that they are “taking over the campaign”. There has been talk of a deal with Santorum to strip delegates from Romney….some think that he will release his delegates to Paul. I think that is completely off-base, since he has openly endorsed Mitt Romney…and the man is on the ballot. He still has a shot. If you knew that you could become President, would you bow out to someone without a fight?

I will try to keep you updated as the situation progresses…there have been other documents filed, including a response to the motion to dismiss. There are many people who are gung-ho about this lawsuit, some that are ho-hum, and some, outright hostile. So…frivolous or justified? I’ll let you decide.

I’ll keep the information coming…and continue to hope that we can achieve a miracle in Tampa.

“And of what kind are the men that will strive for this profitable preeminence, through all the bustle of cabal, the heat of contention, the infinite mutual abuse of parties, tearing to pieces the best of characters?” Benjamin Franklin

About angiedavidson75

mama,political activist, cat lover, free thinker
This entry was posted in Politics and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

31 Responses to Rocking the Vote…or the Boat? Delegate Lawsuit Controversy

  1. KC Ted says:

    Excellent article. Everything in one place to view and contemplate. ^5

  2. I think, or hope intentions are good as far as those involved in the suit (lawyers and delegates). Whether the blame is misplaced or not, we should all take issue and I think we do. I think the GOP and the RNC holds their share of the blame for allowing such things to occur. A candidate’s campaign acting like thugs or being thugs shouldn’t be tolerated. It seemed to be enough to accuse RP delegates of these acts to discredit them so why isn’t it enough for the Romney camp and supporters? There has to be a reasonable and morally just judge who can see this. I don’t think the constitution says a particular club or group of people can dictate to the people who will be their president. The constitution was written to protect the people from the government not the other way around. It does not take many words to speak the truth – Chief Joseph

    • You are right…though it does say that the power is up to the states, and the people. State parties, even though they weren’t around when the Constitution was drafted, seem to fall within that scope. I agree…I think that their hearts are in the right place, but I see this doing more harm than good. Again, that’s only my opinion. I hope I’m wrong.

  3. When this is all over, I will do everything in my power to see the RNC, state parties and the Romney are charged under the RICO statutes. Since I am not a delegate, there is nothing you can do to me. Put THAT in your pipe and smoke it.

    • Robert, no one has said that anyone is free from wrongdoing…but the proper channels need to be followed.I truly believe that Oklahoma, Massachusetts, and Louisiana have good solid civil cases against party members, and even criminal in the case of LA, but those are things that should be done at the local and state level, since they happened at those conventions. Barring that, the procedures for contests and grievances are outlined in the RNC rules. If you are a member at a golf course and you start peeing on the green, they’re going to throw you out…suing the RNC instead of following their rules is akin to that. My state won by following the rules, not throwing in our lot with someone we didn’t know or a lawsuit that we may not understand. I think that there is too much at stake here to risk losing those delegations.

  4. Enigma729 says:

    This lawsuit is Ron Paul’s only chance. So many people just can’t see that!

    • Michelle Martin says:

      No, actually, the delegates getting credentialed and getting to the convention unscathed are Ron Paul’s only chance – giving the RNC any reason to unseat them diminishes that chance. Have you READ the motion to dismiss? Maybe you should reserve judgement until you have read all the documents involved. Ron Paul advised against it – doesn’t get any more clear than that.
      Trust Ron Paul….why would you trust anyone else in this matter?

  5. Well it seems to me that the state trumps federal law clause of the constitution is only used when it benefits them. There have been several cases were the federal government seems to think federal law trumps state law such as the medical marijuana issue. SO, with that being said maybe they should practice what they are trying to preach!

    • Here is the video of DR. Paul talking about the lawsuit. Please watch and interpret for your selves. Thanks!

      • It starts at 4:20 and includes the exact same quote from above. When he says, “it’s not part of our campaign” or “but that has not motivated me to file a lawsuit”, or even better, “if they ask my advice, I’m going to say don’t”, does that sound to you like he supports this lawsuit? He also says that you have a right to stand up for the rules. The “rules” are the national convention rules, which govern the delegates.

  6. Barb Denofa says:

    When somethings sounds too good to be ture, it usually isn’t true. Great insight and facts Angie and a must read for everyone who is involved in the Ron Paul Movement. All the fraud and corruption should not be excused, but hopefully we have all learned something here, and that is to document every action and find the correct course of action through the proper channels.

  7. Not paid…though I wish it was! LOL I have been following this topic for a while and there doesn’t seem to be a ton of transparency, so I want to make sure that people are able to view the documents and come to their own conclusions. Thanks for reading!

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  21. Tracy says:

    Hi there!

    In this wonderful post you wrote:
    “In one of my previous posts, I referenced that the MA delegates were ousted by the Romney campaign via the Allocation Committee. Does that mean that the state party of MA should be held responsible, or that the Romney campaign, being the decision maker, should be the party being sued?”

    I could be wrong, but wasn’t it the Maine [ME] delegates that were ousted, not Massachusetts [MA]?


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