Major New Edition of “The Law of Democracy,” (Issacharoff, Karlan, Pildes, Persily) Available for Fall

The significantly revised new edition of The Law of Democracy, which now includes Professor Nate Persily as our new co-author, is available from us in page proofs and will be published over the summer.  The new edition will also feature a website, available to teachers, where we will post maps and other visual material that can be used to enhance teaching.  We want to thank the many academics who have contributed their suggestions to this new edition.

From the preface to this new edition, here are a few brief excerpts that describe some of the major changes to the book:

Our treatment of campaign finance has been significantly enhanced.  We have reorganized and expanded the materials in Chapter 5 to cover this increasingly dominant subject. We have included more background material to help students appreciate the various critical actors in the system, and for casebook users who have clamored for years for the inclusion of the actual decision in Buckley v. Valeo, your wish has been granted. We have also organized the materials a bit more conceptually, so that the early parts of the Chapter focus on “corruption” and the expenditure/contribution divide, while the later portions of the chapter focus on key organizational entities, such as political parties and corporations. In addition, we have expanded our coverage of SuperPACs and other contemporary financing vehicles; added new material on lobbying and the boundary between crime and ordinary democratic politics; and enhanced our coverage of disclosure, as that issue has taken on greater importance and become more controversial.

While our coverage of campaign finance has expanded, we have condensed some of our coverage of the Voting Rights Act and related issues. We have compressed the four chapters in the Fourth Edition that dealt with qualitative vote-dilution claims into two chapters in the new edition. We have integrated the racial and partisan vote dilution issues in a new approach; a new Chapter 6 now presents the constitutional vote dilution issues first in the race context and then in the partisan gerrymandering context. Chapter 7 is devoted exclusively to the Voting Rights Act. We have shortened the legislative history of Section 2, and tightened our coverage of Section 2 vote-dilution claims, while adding coverage of Section 2 vote-denial claims. In the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision in Shelby County v. Holder, we have streamlined significantly our coverage of the preclearance regime of Section 5, while preserving the core issues that continue to have current implications.

We’ve managed to revise the book without it getting any longer, thereby defying our earlier prediction that casebooks, like people, always grow heavier as they age.  We will not disclose which of the casebook authors cannot say the same about themselves.


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