1. State legislatures cannot violate the First Amendment rights of Republican delegates. Throughout the primary, pundits have reminded voters again and again that there exists a patchwork quilt of state laws that “require” delegates to follow the will of the primary voters — sometimes only through one ballot, sometimes through more. These laws are unconstitutional. A state entity cannot mandate the manner in which private citizens govern private organizations.
Indeed, the notion that states can compel members of private associations to vote according to primary results is a fundamentally progressive notion, an expansion of the government into the private sphere. Yet First Amendment guarantees of free speech and freedom of association stand as a bulwark against exactly this kind of government interference.
Indeed, the Supreme Court has already ruled that in a conflict between state law and national-party rules, the national-party rules take precedence. In Cousins v. Wigoda, the High Court decided a dispute between two delegate slates to the 1972 Democratic Convention — one slate (the Cousins slate) was selected according to Illinois state law; the other (the Wigoda slate) was actually seated at the convention. The Court granted review to determine whether Illinois courts were “correct in according primacy to state law over the National Political Party’s rules in the determination of the qualifications and eligibility of delegates to the Party’s National Convention.”