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Books by Rick
The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown (Yale University Press, 2012)
The Voting Wars Website
NOW AVAILABLE from
Barnes and Noble
Election Law--Cases and Materials (5th edition 2012) (with Daniel Hays Lowenstein and Daniel P. Tokaji)
The Supreme Court and Election Law: Judging Equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore (NYU Press 2003) NOW IN PAPER
Table of Contents
Order from Amazon.com
Order from BarnesandNoble.com
Journal of Legislation Symposium on book
The Glannon Guide to Torts: Learning Torts Through Multiple-Choice Questions and Analysis (Aspen Publishers 2d ed. 2011)
Remedies: Examples & Explanations (Aspen Publishers, 2d ed. 2010)
Election Law Resources
Blogroll/Political News Sites
All About Redistricting (Justin Levitt)
American Constitution Society
Ballot Access News
Brennan Center for Justice
The Brookings Institution's Campaign Finance Page
California Election Law (Randy Riddle)
Caltech-MIT/Voting Technology Project (and link to voting technology listserv)
The Caucus (NY Times)
Campaign Legal Center (Blog)
Campaign Finance Institute
Center for Competitive Politics (Blog)
Center for Governmental Studies
Doug Chapin (HHH program)
Equal Vote (Dan Tokaji)
Federal Election Commission
The Fix (WaPo)
Initiative and Referendum Institute
Legal Theory (Larry Solum)
Political Activity Law
Summary Judgments (Loyola Law faculty blog)
Talking Points Memo
UC Irvine Center for the Study of Democracy
UC Irvine School of Law
USC-Caltech Center for the Study of Law and Politics
The Volokh Conspiracy
Votelaw blog (Ed Still)
Washington Post Politics
Recent Newspapers and Magazine Commentaries
Big Money Lost, But Don't Be Relieved, CNN Opinion, Nov. 9, 2012
A Better Way to Vote: Nationalize Oversight and Control, NY Times, "Room for Debate" blog, Nov. 9, 2012
Election Day Dispatches Entry 5: Black Panthers, Navy Seals, and Mysterious Voting Machines, Slate, Nov. 6, 2012
Behind the Voting Wars, A Clash of Philosophies, Sacramento Bee, Nov. 4, 2012
How Many More Near-Election Disasters Before Congress Wakes Up?, The Daily Beast, Oct. 30, 2012
Will Bush v. Gore Save Barack Obama? If Obama Narrowly Wins Ohio, He Can Thank Scalia and the Court's Conservatives, Slate, Oct. 26, 2012
Will Voter Suppression and Dirty Tricks Swing the Election?, Salon, Oct. 22, 2012
Is the Supreme Court About to Swing Another Presidential Election? If the Court Cuts Early Voting in Ohio, It Could Be a Difference Maker in the Buckeye State, Slate, Oct. 15, 2012
Election Truthers: Will Republicans Accept an Obama Election Victory?, Slate, Oct. 9, 2012
Wrong Number: The Crucial Ohio Voting Battle You Haven't Heard About, Slate, Oct. 1, 2012
Litigating the Vote, National Law Journal, Aug. 27, 2012
Military Voters as Political Pawns, San Diego Union-Tribune, August 19, 2012
Tweeting the Next Election Meltdown: If the Next Presidential Election Goes into Overtime, Heaven Help Us. It’s Gonna Get Ugly, Slate, Aug. 14, 2012
A Detente Before the Election, New York Times, August 5, 2012
Worse Than Watergate: The New Campaign Finance Order Puts the Corruption of the 1970s to Shame, Slate, July 19, 2012
Has SCOTUS OK'd Campaign Dirty Tricks?, Politico, July 10, 2012
End the Voting Wars: Take our elections out of the hands of the partisan and the incompetent, Slate, June 13, 2012
Citizens: Speech, No Consequences, Politico, May 31, 2012
Is Campaign Disclosure Heading Back to the Supreme Court? Don’t expect to see Karl Rove’s Rolodex just yet, Slate, May 16, 2012
Unleash the Hounds Why Justice Souter should publish his secret dissent in Citizens United, Slate, May 16, 2012
Why Washington Can’t Be Fixed; And is about to get a lot worse, Slate, May 9, 2012
Let John Edwards Go! Edwards may be a liar and a philanderer, but his conviction will do more harm than good, Slate, April 23, 2012
The Real Loser of the Scott Walker Recall? The State of Wisconsin, The New Republic, April 13, 2012
A Court of Radicals: If the justices strike down Obamacare, it may have grave political implications for the court itself, Slate, March 30, 2012
Of Super PACs and Corruption, Politico, March 22, 2012
Texas Voter ID Law May Be Headed to the Supreme Court, Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Mar. 13, 2012
“The Numbers Don’t Lie: If you aren’t sure Citizens United gave rise to the Super PACs, just follow the money, Slate, Mar. 9, 2012
Stephen Colbert: Presidential Kingmaker?, Politico, Mar. 5 2012
Occupy the Super PACs; Justice Ginsburg knows the Citizens United decision was a mistake. Now she appears to be ready to speak truth to power, Slate, Feb. 20, 2012
Kill the Caucuses! Maine, Nevada, and Iowa were embarrassing. It’s time to make primaries the rule, Slate, Feb. 15, 2012
The Biggest Danger of Super PACs, CNN Politics, Jan. 9, 2012
This Case is a Trojan Horse, New York Times "Room for Debate" blog, Jan. 6, 2012 (forum on Bluman v. FEC)
Holder's Voting Rights Gamble: The Supreme Court's Voter ID Showdown, Slate, Dec. 30, 2011
Will Foreigners Decide the 2012 Election? The Extreme Unintended Consequences of Citizens United, The New Republic (online), Dec. 6, 2011
Disenfranchise No More, New York Times, Nov. 17, 2011
A Democracy Deficit at Americans Elect?, Politico, Nov. 9, 2011
Super-Soft Money: How Justice Kennedy paved the way for ‘SuperPACS’ and the return of soft money, Slate, Oct. 25, 2012
The Arizona Campaign Finance Law: The Surprisingly Good News in the Supreme Court’s New Decision, The New Republic (online), June 27, 2011
New York City as a Model?, New York Times Room for Debate, June 27, 2011
A Cover-Up, Not a Crime. Why the Case Against John Edwards May Be Hard to Prove, Slate, Jun. 3, 2011
Wisconsin Court Election Courts Disaster, Politico, Apr. 11, 2011
Rich Candidate Expected to Win Again, Slate, Mar. 25, 2011
Health Care and the Voting Rights Act, Politico, Feb. 4, 2011
The FEC is as Good as Dead, Slate, Jan. 25, 2011
Let Rahm Run!, Slate, Jan. 24, 2011
Lobbypalooza,The American Interest, Jan-Feb. 2011(with Ellen P. Aprill)
Election Hangover: The Real Legacy of Bush v. Gore, Slate, Dec. 3, 2010
Alaska's Big Spelling Test: How strong is Joe Miller's argument against the Leeza Markovsky vote?, Slate, Nov. 11, 2010
Kirk Offers Hope vs. Secret Donors, Politico, November 5, 2010
Evil Men in Black Robes: Slate's Judicial Election Campaign Ad Spooktackular!, Slate, October 26, 2010 (with Dahlia Lithwick)
Show Me the Donors: What's the point of disclosing campaign donations? Let's review, Slate, October 14, 2010
Un-American Influence: Could Foreign Spending on Elections Really Be Legal?, Slate, October 11, 2010
Toppled Castle: The real loser in the Tea Party wins is election reform, Slate, Sept. 16, 2010
Citizens United: What the Court Did--and Why, American Interest, July/August 2010
The Big Ban Theory: Does Elena Kagan Want to Ban Books? No, and She Might Even Be a Free Speech Zealot", Slate, May 24, 2010
Crush Democracy But Save the Kittens: Justice Alito's Double Standard for the First Amendment, Slate, Apr. 30, 2010
Some Skepticism About the "Separable Preferences" Approach to the Single Subject Rule: A Comment on Cooter & Gilbert, Columbia Law Review Sidebar, Apr. 19, 2010
Scalia's Retirement Party: Looking ahead to a conservative vacancy can help the Democrats at the polls, Slate, Apr. 12, 2010
Hushed Money: Could Karl Rove's New 527 Avoid Campaign-Finance Disclosure Requirements?, Slate, Apr. 6, 2010
Money Grubbers: The Supreme Court Kills Campaign Finance Reform, Slate, Jan. 21, 2010
Bad News for Judicial Elections, N.Y. Times "Room for Debate" Blog, Jan., 21, 2010
Read more opeds from 2006-2009
Forthcoming Publications, Recent Articles, and Working Papers
The 2012 Voting Wars, Judicial Backstops, and the Resurrection of Bush v. Gore, George Washington Law Review (forthcoming 2013) (draft available)
A Constitutional Right to Lie in Campaigns and Elections?, Montana Law Review (forthcoming 2013) (draft available)
End of the Dialogue? Political Polarization, the Supreme Court, and Congress, 86 Southern California Law Review (forthcoming 2013) (draft available)
Fixing Washington, 126 Harvard Law Review (forthcoming 2012) (draf available)
What to Expect When You’re Electing: Federal Courts and the Political Thicket in 2012, Federal Lawyer, (forthcoming 2012)( draft available)
Chill Out: A Qualified Defense of Campaign Finance Disclosure Laws in the Internet Age, Journal of Law and Politics (forthcoming 2012) (draft available)
Lobbying, Rent Seeking, and the Constitution, 64 Stanford Law Review (forthcoming 2012) (draft available)
Anticipatory Overrulings, Invitations, Time Bombs, and Inadvertence: How Supreme Court Justices Move the Law, Emory Law Journal (forthcoming 2012) (draft available)
Teaching Bush v. Gore as History, St. Louis University Law Review (forthcoming 2012) (symposium on teaching election law) (draft available)
The Supreme Court’s Shrinking Election Law Docket: A Legacy of Bush v. Gore or Fear of the Roberts Court?, Election Law Journal (forthcoming 2011) (draft available)
Citizens United and the Orphaned Antidistortion Rationale, 27 Georgia State Law Review 989 (2011) (symposium on Citizens United)
The Nine Lives of Buckley v. Valeo, in First Amendment Stories, Richard Garnett and Andrew Koppelman, eds., Foundation 2011)
The Transformation of the Campaign Financing Regime for U.S. Presidential Elections, in The Funding of Political Parties (Keith Ewing, Jacob Rowbottom, and Joo-Cheong Tham, eds., Routledge 2011)
Judges as Political Regulators: Evidence and Options for Institutional Change, in Race, Reform and Regulation of the Electoral Process, (Gerken, Charles, and Kang eds., Cambridge 2011)
Citizens United and the Illusion of Coherence, 109 Michigan Law Review 581 (2011)
Aggressive Enforcement of the Single Subject Rule, 9 Election Law Journal 399 (2010) (co-authored with John G. Matsusaka)
The Benefits of the Democracy Canon and the Virtues of Simplicity: A Reply to Professor Elmendorf, 95 Cornell Law Review 1173 (2010)
Constitutional Avoidance and Anti-Avoidance on the Roberts Court, 2009 Supreme Court Review 181 (2010)
Election Administration Reform and the New Institutionalism, California Law Review 1075 (2010) (reviewing Gerken, The Democracy Index)
You Don't Have to Be a Structuralist to Hate the Supreme Court's Dignitary Harm Election Law Cases, 64 University of Miami Law Review 465 (2010)
The Democracy Canon, 62 Stanford Law Review 69 (2009)
Review Essay: Assessing California's Hybrid Democracy, 97 California Law Review 1501 (2009)
Bush v. Gore and the Lawlessness Principle: A Comment on Professor Amar, 61 Florida Law Review 979 (2009)
Introduction: Developments in Election Law, 42 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 565 (2009)
Book Review (reviewing Christopher P. Manfredi and Mark Rush, Judging Democracy (2008)), 124 Political Science Quarterly 213 (2009).
"Regulation of Campaign Finance," in Vikram Amar and Mark Tushnet, Global Perspectives on Constitutional Law (Oxford University Press (2009)
More Supply, More Demand: The Changing Nature of Campaign Financing for Presidential Primary Candidates (working paper, Sept. 2008)
When 'Legislature' May Mean More than''Legislature': Initiated Electoral College Reform and the Ghost of Bush v. Gore, 35 Hastings Constitutional Law Quarterly 599 (2008) (draft available)
"Too Plain for Argument?" The Uncertain Congressional Power to Require Parties to Choose Presidential Nominees Through Direct and Equal Primaries, 102 Northwestern University Law Review 2009 (2008)
Political Equality, the Internet, and Campaign Finance Regulation, The Forum, Vol. 6, Issue 1, Art. 7 (2008)
Justice Souter: Campaign Finance Law's Emerging Egalitarian, 1 Albany Government Law Review 169 (2008)
Beyond Incoherence: The Roberts Court's Deregulatory Turn in FEC v. Wisconsin Right to Life, 92 Minnesota Law Review 1064 (2008) (draft available)
The Untimely Death of Bush v. Gore, 60 Stanford Law Review 1 (2007)
Category Archives: redistricting
Orlando Sentinel: “A divided appeals court ruled Wednesday that Florida legislators should not be questioned under oath about whether they ‘intended’ to gain partisan advantage when they re-drew congressional maps last year.”
Read the order here. Much depends upon whether Section 5 remains valid once the Supreme Court decides the Shelby County case.
Thanks largely to the way Congressional districts were drawn in the latest round of redistricting, even a dramatic wave election like the one in 2008 that swept President Obama into power and added to Democratic majorities in Congress would do little to alter the composition of the Republican-controlled House of Representatives, a new, nonpartisan study found.
FairVote, an organization that examines voting patterns and laws, predicts that Republicans will maintain control of the House in 2014 unless Democrats meet the unlikely threshold of winning 56 percent of the vote nationwide.
Press release: “As part of its biennial Monopoly Politics series on the overriding dominance of partisanship in controlling the outcomes of American congressional elections, FairVote today released its initial projections for its Monopoly Politics 2014 report. The report projects outcomes in 374 of 435 U.S. House elections in 2014 based on current incumbents seeking re-election. Of those 374 races, FairVote projects 211 to be won by Republicans and 163 to be won by Democrats.”
Anchorage Daily News: “The Alaska Redistricting Board has gone once again to the Alaska Supreme Court, this time asking the justices to clarify whether an earlier ruling requires it to redraw all of Alaska’s legislative districts from scratch.”
MORE: “Torgerson, a former state senator from Kasilof, said the board was waiting out a decision by the U.S. Supreme Court in a case brought by Shelby County, Ala., challenging a section of the U.S. Voting Rights Act. The case could affect Alaska because like Shelby County, the entire state of Alaska must get authorization from the U.S. Justice Department before making any changes to its voting system, including redistricting.”
“Did Gerrymandering Cost Dems the House? A 33-State Look at Alternative Nonpartisan Maps Suggests Yes”
Stephen Wolf posts an interesting diary entry at Daily Kos.
“The Republican Advantage: The decline of swing districts and the rise of partisanship spells trouble for House Democrats.”
By now, the trend lines are clear. In 1998, we found 164 swing seats—districts within 5 points of the national partisan average, with scores between R+5 and D+5 (a score of R+5 means the district’s vote for the Republican presidential nominees was 5 percentage points above the national average). The data 15 years ago showed just 148 solidly Republican districts and 123 solidly Democratic seats. Today, only 90 swing seats remain—a 45 percent decline—while the number of solidly Republican districts has risen to 186 and the count of solidly Democratic districts is up to 159.
In 1998, the median Democratic-held district had a PVI score of D+7, and the median Republican-held district had a PVI score of R+7—pretty partisan, but far from monolithic. Today, those median numbers are D+12 and R+10, and that 22-point gulf is the main structural driver of the political paralysis we lament today. Not coincidentally, the most Democratic and the most Republican House districts have never been further apart—Democratic Rep. Jose Serrano’s Bronx seat in New York City is D+43 on our scale, and Republican Rep. Mac Thornberry’s Texas Panhandle district is R+32—a 75-point chasm.
Don’t miss this graph.
Ross Ramsey for the Texas Tribune:
Greg Abbott is selling a redistricting nostrum, telling Texas legislators they could cut their legal risks by adopting new political maps right away.
It is a hard sell. Lawmakers are getting along so well they practically break out into song every day. Abbott, the state’s attorney general, is offering them one of the most reliably divisive issues in existence, saying they could get themselves — and him, too, by the way — out of a lot of gnarly legal fights by endorsing maps drawn by federal judges instead of defending their own. They’re balking.
Charles Blow: “Too many House Republican districts are isolated in naturally homogeneous areas or gerrymandered ghettos, so elected officials there rarely hear — or see — the great and growing diversity of this country and the infusion of energy and ideas and art with which it enriches us. These districts produce representatives unaccountable to the confluence. And this will likely be the case for the next decade.
WSJ: “In a landmark ruling Monday, a Hiroshima court ruled the results of the December lower-house election invalid in two districts due to the disproportionate weighting of votes in those districts.”
Extensive Bloomberg report, and extensive graphics, focusing on gerrymandering in Michigan.
Documents were deleted from state redistricting computers last year even after a lawyer for the Legislature told lawmakers’ aides to preserve all records on the computers, according to documents filed Wednesday in federal court.
Nine hard drives were recently given to groups suing the state because of questions about whether legislators and their attorneys had turned over all the documents they had been ordered to provide. One of the nine hard drives was unreadable and the outside of it was dented and scratched, which suggested its metal housing had been removed, according to affidavits in the case.
In addition, some of the hard drives had a program installed on them that could remove electronic data and hide the fact that files had been deleted, according to the filing. So far, however, a computer expert has not been able to determine if the program was actually used.
Nick Stephanopoulos has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming UC Irvine Law Review). Here is the abstract:
The two most significant approaches to redistricting to emerge in the last generation are both consequentialist. That is, they both urge authorities to design—and courts to evaluate—district plans on the basis of the plans’ likely electoral consequences. According to the partisan fairness approach, plans should treat the major parties symmetrically in terms of the conversion of votes to seats. According to the competitiveness approach, districts should be as electorally competitive as is feasible.
Unnoticed by the literature, a substantial number of jurisdictions, in both America and Australia, have heeded these calls from the academy. In sum, consequentialist criteria have been used to shape the district plans for close to three hundred elections over the last four decades. In this paper, I provide an initial assessment of the record of these criteria. The record, for the most part, is mediocre. Controlling for other relevant factors, partisan fairness requirements have not made district plans more symmetric in their treatment of the major parties. Nor have competitiveness requirements made elections more competitive. The likely explanations are the poor drafting, low prioritization, and need for unrealistically accurate electoral forecasts of most consequentialist criteria.
However, other common proposals for redistricting reform—in particular, the use of neutral institutions such as commissions—have performed much better. Elections in Australia, all of which rely on commissions, are much fairer and more competitive than their American counterparts. In the United States, commission usage increases both partisan fairness in state legislative elections and competitiveness in congressional elections, even controlling for an array of other variables. Ironically, it seems that consequentialist criteria cannot achieve their own desired consequences—but that non-consequentialist approaches can.
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: “A federal court gave groups suing the state broad access Monday to three computers used by the Legislature to develop Republican-friendly voting maps. The Legislature ‘must make these three computers available in their entirety immediately’ to the groups suing the state, the three judges wrote.”
Neuroscientist and election forecaster Sam Wang recently added fuel to the fire, calling the 2012 outcome “The Great Gerrymander.” He identified 10 states, most of them controlled by Republicans, as notable and egregious deviations from a fair outcome, suggesting that gerrymandering cost the Democrats 15 seats in the current House of Representatives and calling for redistricting reform to fix the problem. Wang’s conclusion resembles that of political scientist Nicholas Goedert, who suggests that the 2012 maps cost the Democrats 14 seats.
Is this right? Has gerrymandering allowed Republicans to defy the will of the people? The crucial question to ask when deciding whether redistricting “mattered” is: compared to what? What is the alternative set of districts—the “counterfactual”—to which you’re comparing the current districts? Once we consider some other alternatives, these claims about gerrymandering aren’t as strong as they first appear.
An important piece, with some great accompanying charts and data.
Three months after the 2012 election, independent redistricting continues to gain attention as a panacea for American congressional elections. Making the case from the quantitative flank is Sam Wang, professor of neuroscience at Princeton and founder of the Princeton Election Consortium, whose February 2 op-ed in the New York Times purported to show that the partisan bias in the U.S. House of Representatives could be corrected nearly entirely by implanting independent redistricting nationwide in the form that it is currently used in states like California. Wang later expressed his admiration for the California commission model by tweeting, in response to a National Journal article on the defeat of Congressman Howard Berman, “What independent redistricting looks like: races blown wide open, incumbents ousted.”
As FairVote has long argued, independent redistricting is a necessary reform, and we support it wholeheartedly. But proponents are simply wrong to suggest it would be sufficient if left to operate within winner-take-all elections. A perfect illustration of this point is the effect of the independent redistricting commission in California. Election results clearly show that ”wide open” races and “ousted incumbents” were not the norm in California in 2012 – and are likely to become even more scarce in the state’s future elections.
Press release: “Today, more than 200 civil rights, voting rights and criminal justice organizations sent a letter calling on the U.S. Census Bureau to seize a timely opportunity to research alternative ways to count incarcerated people in the decennial Census.”
“Voting Rights 2.0: Why we still need the Voting Rights Act, and how the Supreme Court could make it work better instead of striking it down.”
Extensive and nuanced Emily Bazelon piece for Slate.
The Supreme Court’s decision over the constitutionality of section 5 and the Court’s failure to take action on Texas’s appeal in its section 5 redistricting case has put the three-judge federal court in San Antonio hearing the section 2 challenge to Texas’s redistricting in a bind. It is hard to know what, if anything, that court should do while it waits on SCOTUS. It has now issued this very detailed order trying to make sense of what might come next depending upon what SCOTUS does.
Austin-American Statesman: “The city since late January has been urging residents to apply for the map-drawing commission. So far, it has received only 98 applications, all but a handful from white men. Only five applicants are Hispanic, two are black and one is Asian. And the application deadline ends in just two weeks.”
Richmond Times-Dispatch: “[Virginia] Speaker of the House William J. Howell, R-Stafford, has ruled that the surprise changes that the Senate made to redistricting legislation are out of order, dealing a blow to GOP hopes to redraw districts.”
“Law and Democracy: A Symposium on Political Law”
November 16, 2012
This year’s annual George Washington University Law Review symposium took a look at the laws that govern our democratic process soon after the 2012 elections. The symposium was organized by the George Washington University Law Review, GW Political Law Studies Initiative, and Director and Professor Spencer Overton.
Opening Remarks and Ken Goldstein (President, Campaign Media Analysis Group, Kantar Media) presentation on releasing media spending data by presidential campaigns, super PACs, and other entities in the 2012 election cycle (37:13)
Primary Issues of 2012 Election: Bob Bauer (General Counsel, Obama for America); Sean Cairncross (Chief Counsel, Nat’l Republican Senatorial Committee); Ken Goldstein (Kantar Media); Prof. Rick Hasen (UC Irvine, ElectionLawBlog); Prof. William Marshall (UNC); Myrna Pérez (Brennan Center) (72:44)
Campaign Finance in 2012 Election: Allison Hayward (formerly of Center for Competitive Politics); Prof. Sam Issacharoff (NYU); Lawrence Noble (Americans for Campaign Reform); Prof. Nathaniel Persily (Columbia); Monica Youn (Brennan Center) (74:11)
Election Administration: Prof. Adam Cox (NYU); Prof. Josh Douglas (Univ. of KY); John Fortier (Bipartisan Policy Center); Prof. Heather Gerken (Yale); Prof. Sherrilyn Ifill (U of MD); Prof. Daniel Tokaji (Ohio State) (82:19)
Keynote by Tom Perez, Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Dept. of Justice (40:17)
Future of Campaign Finance: Prof. Richard Briffault (Columbia); Eliza Newlin Carney (Roll Call); Prof. Michael Kang (Emory); Trevor Potter (Campaign Legal Center); Prof. Brad Smith (Capital University) (71:08)
Voting Rights Act and Redistricting: Michael Carvin (Jones Day); Prof. Kareem Crayton (UNC); Prof. Gilda Daniels (U. of Balt.); Prof. Ellen Katz (Michigan); Prof. Justin Levitt (Loyola); Prof. Michael J. Pitts (Indiana) (71:38)
Election Law in the Roberts Court: Prof. Guy-Uriel Charles (Duke); Prof. Edward Foley (Ohio State); Prof. Lani Guinier (Harvard); Prof. Pamela Karlan (Stanford); Prof. Alan Morrison (GW); Prof. Richard Pildes (NYU) (78:36)
Associated Press . Nov. 19, 2012
Justice Official Wants Voter Registration to be Automatic
Justice Official: Register Voters Automatically
ProPublica . Nov. 20, 2012
Why Is Arizona Still Counting Votes?
Both Republicans and Democrats regularly exhibit such greed and dishonesty in manipulating electoral maps that a Columbia University expert who studies the practice likened his work to that of an anthropologist who observes cannibals.
“I have to replace normal human reactions of disgust and revulsion with fascination and curiosity. It’s the only way I can cope,” said Nathaniel Persily, a law professor who’s helped draw election lines in Maryland and other states.
News from Austin: “The city of Austin is looking for volunteers to help carry out a dramatic shift in city government. Applications are being accepted to serve on a 14-member committee of residents that will draw maps for 10 City Council districts. Voters agreed last fall to change the council from seven citywide members to 10 district representatives and a citywide mayor. The ballot measure called for a group of residents, not the City Council, to draw the districts, so that council members can’t gerrymander the lines to try to keep their seats.”
Via the Washington Post.
HuffPo: “If Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) signs off on the changes, the feds could look at whether the Republicans’ decision to schedule the vote in Marsh’s absence demonstrates the redistricting plan was racially motivated. McDonnell told reporters on Tuesday the state Senate’s Monday vote wasn’t “a good way to do business,” but did not say whether he would sign the legislation.”
WaPo: “Senate Republicans pushed a re-drawn state political map past flabbergasted Democrats on Monday, pulling off what would amount to a mid-decade redistricting of Senate lines if the plan gets approval from the House and governor and stands up to anticipated legal challenges. The bill, approved 20 to 19, would revamp the Senate map to concentrate minority voters in a new Southside district and would change most, if not all, existing district lines. Democrats, still scrambling Monday night to figure out the impact, said they thought that the new map would make at least five districts held by Democrats heavily Republican. The map puts two sitting senators, R. Creigh Deeds (D-Bath) and Emmett W. Hanger Jr. (R-Augusta), into a single district.”TPM:
As mentioned earlier, seizing on the absence of a Democratic senator who happens to be a veteran of the civil rights movement and was in Washington, on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, for the second inauguration of the country’s first black president, Republicans in the evenly split Virginia state Senate pushed through a surprise mid-decade redistricting plan to try to gain decisive control of the body in the next election.
We’re not done yet.
At the end of this wild day, the “Senate adjourned in memory or (sic) General Thomas J. ‘Stonewall’ Jackson,” according to the minutes of the session. Jan. 21 is the Confederate general’s birthday.
Franita Tolson has posted this draft on SSRN (Notre Dame Law Review). Here is the abstract:
The Framers of the United States Constitution created our system of federalism based on the principle that political safeguards would protect the regulatory interests of the states from overreaching by the federal government. While many of these safeguards have since failed, others have emerged to insulate the states from an ever-expanding federal presence. One such safeguard is partisan gerrymandering, which allows states to draw legislative districts that reflect the partisan affiliation of a majority of the electorate, and in turn, send a delegation to Congress that is as ideologically cohesive as practicable. In making this argument, this Article corrects a basic misunderstanding in the political safeguards literature: that the Senate is the only chamber that the Framers constructed to protect state interests. In reality, a politically cohesive House delegation can ensure that the state’s preferred policy preferences shape federal lawmaking.
This Article also illustrates that, in the context of congressional redistricting, the legal scholarship’s sole focus on ascertaining manageable judicial standards ignores the concerns about institutional legitimacy and judicially dictated political outcomes that are exacerbated by the federalism issues in this area. Despite the absence of standards, the broader structural implications of promoting “federalism-reinforcing” gerrymandering require the Supreme Court to craft rules that encourage the use of mid-decade redistricting and at-large voting schemes; that limit the authority of independent commissions to draw redistricting plans; and that promote strong state political parties, all of which will help preserve the states’ ability to utilize the federalism benefits that flow from partisan redistricting.
Texas Redistricting: “…many observers have speculated that the high court has deferred deciding what to do with the Texas case until it decides in Shelby Co. v. Holder whether section 5 of the Voting Rights Act remains constitutional….While waiting arguably makes sense, the challenge could become having to quickly draw remedial maps if section 5 is upheld – since a decision in the Shelby Co. case very likely might not come until late June. Any changes to the maps would require redrawing precinct lines and a number of other technical steps, and the countdown to the filing date for the Texas primary starts in September.”
This item appears at Facing South.