La Follette‘s Folly: A Critique of Party Associational Rights in Presidential Nomination Politics

Every four years, observers of the presidential nomination season decry the undue influence of those states that hold their primaries first, particularly Iowa and New Hampshire. Currently, Democratic Party rules protect the position of these states. In 2008, two states disregarded party rules in order to move their primaries to a more influential position in the primary season. As punishment for disobeying the rules, the national party diluted the influence of the delegates from these states at the national convention. Legislative solutions to the problems of the current nomination process appear unlikely. Moreover, Supreme Court jurisprudence places no limits on a party’s choice to refuse to seat delegates. This Note proposes that the Court evaluate state regulation of parties more seriously with respect to presidential nomination conventions by balancing the burden on the party ‘ associational rights against the state’s interest in regulation.