While Donald Trump is not yet the official Republican Nominee, it is highly likely he will be. There isn't a competitor left running against him.

Is there a legal mechanism that can be employed to block his assumed nomination?

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    My answer to a related question might fight this question better. And do you specifically mean legal as in US Federal and State law? Or are you including Republican Party rules and procedure?
    – Schwern
    Commented May 6, 2016 at 19:35
  • @Schwern Yes to both. The mechanism would have be in compliance with the procedures of the Republican National Committee, and as a corollary not violate Federal or State Laws. Forestalls the act of god and killing him answers. Commented May 7, 2016 at 4:30
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    Yes, if you happen to have a working time machine. Why on Earth are all these moot questions popping up like unkillable zombies?
    – jamesqf
    Commented Sep 28, 2021 at 4:39
  • @jamesqf - Tag edits for the benefit of those searching for such "zombies". Should Trump run in 2024, this question could be dup target as may others.
    – Rick Smith
    Commented Oct 10, 2021 at 22:33
  • @Rick Smith: Then someone needs to fix that seriously broken tag edit, so that it leaves dates unchanged. Or just have sense enough not to do edits like that in the first place.
    – jamesqf
    Commented Oct 11, 2021 at 4:32

1 Answer 1


There are very few, if any, federal or state legal constraints on what a political party may do in selecting its nominee. The US Constitution simply does not allow federal and state laws that limit internal party decisions.

As for party rules being a constraint, the party delegates make the nominee decision by voting on who will be the the party's nominee. A simple majority wins: the first candidate to get a majority of the delegates' votes wins. The delegates operate within rules that are subject to change by the delegates themselves, and they will make their decisions on rules and voting based on many highly variable considerations, including political influences, self-interests, party interests, and their own moral considerations, if they have any.

In the final analysis, the delegates will be able to do pretty much whatever they want to do without any significant restraints imposed by federal or state law. However, if Mr. Trump has already the commitment of a majority of the delegates before the convention, his nomination is virtually assured. If Mr. Trump has the commitment of 49%, then the delegates will very likely take into account political concerns arising from very bad appearance if they deny Mr. Trump a nomination that many would feel he "deserved," but legal considerations or party rules would not be a major constraint on delegates' decision to vote for or against Trump after the first ballot.

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    "The US Constitution simply does not allow federal and state laws that limit internal party decisions." This is untrue. The US Constitution doesn't know anything about parties, as they didn't exist until after the Constitution was passed. And the states do pass laws controlling delegate actions. For example, almost all delegates are bound to vote for a particular candidate on the first ballot. That said, in practice there are few other restrictions on the delegates. Not because restrictions are prohibited but simply because no one has passed them.
    – Brythan
    Commented May 8, 2016 at 5:16
  • States do have the option to make rules about who can and can not run for president. For example, some states want to make laws which require a presidential candidate to publish their tax returns in order to run. This would disqualify Trump from running in these states if he continues to insist on not doing that.
    – Philipp
    Commented Apr 21, 2019 at 12:30
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    @Philipp That seems incorrect; the Constitution sets our the requirements about who may be elected President. It seems extremely unlikely that the states have the power to modify those requirements. A recent article suggest they can prevent someone from appearing on the ballot for the primary but not the general election.
    – Andy
    Commented Aug 9, 2019 at 0:14

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