A federal judge has ordered a hearing for July 7 in a lawsuit brought by a Virginia Republican who says a state law requiring him to vote for Donald Trump is unconstitutional. It’s the latest legal front in efforts to stop Trump at the Republican Convention. Federal District Court Judge Robert Payne of Richmond is moving quickly, ordering lawyers on both sides to respond to questions he raised Tuesday. While the pace is driven partly by the July 18 opening of the Republican National Convention, it also suggests that the judge is receptive to the claim. The lawsuit was filed by Carroll Correll, a northern Virginia Republican chosen as a delegate to the national convention, on behalf of himself and the state’s other Republican delegates. He believes that “Donald Trump is unfit to serve as President of the United States” and that voting for Trump would violate his conscience, according to court filings.
Correll is challenging a Virginia law that makes it a crime for national party delegates to vote for anyone on the first ballot other than the candidate who won in the state primary or convention.
“The First Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees delegates to a political party’s national convention the right to vote their conscience,” he argues in court papers. “Virginia law strips them of that right.”