“Texas consultant to Rand Paul loses Pa. election law challenge”

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette: A federal judge has denied a temporary restraining order to a Texas man challenging Pennsylvania election law and seeking to circulate petitions for Republican presidential candidate Rand Paul. Texas resident Trent Pool, and his firm Benezet Consulting, LLC, allege that their First Amendment right to circulate nominating petitions for the April primary election ballot is unconstitutionally limited by three provisions in…

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“Wholly Foreign to the First Amendment”?: Political Inequality Forty Years After Buckley v. Valeo

Looking forward to this Plutocrats United-related event: February 18, 4:30-5:30 PM, University of Pennsylvania Law School 3501 Sansom St, Philadelphia, PA 19104 Silverman Hall 240A   Featuring: Rick Hasen, Chancellor’s Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine Tabatha Abu El-Haj, Associate Professor, Thomas R. Kline School of Law at Drexel University Jesus Gonzalez, Churches United for Fair Housing Adam Lioz,…

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Plutocrats United: The Book Tour and Talks (UPDATED)

…th Ned Foley and Michael Gerhardt) (12 pm event) (details and rsvp) February 18, Philadelphia PA, University of Pennsylvania Law School (4:30 pm event) (details) February 19, Boston/Cambridge, Harvard Law School (lunchtime event) (details) February 19, Cambridge, Scholars Strategy Network (details; “Seats limited. RSVP to events@scholarsstrategynetwork.org) February 26, Brooklyn, Brooklyn Law School (First Amendment symposium) (details and…

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“Roundtable – Preparing for Election 2016 in Battleground Jurisdictions”

…aw State University Brian Corley, MPA, Supervisor of Elections, Pasco County Florida Honorable Pedro A. Cortés, Pennsylvania Secretary of State Luanne Cutler, Registrar of Voters, Washoe County, Nevada Matt Damschroder, Assistant Secretary of State, Ohio Robert Dezmelyk, Moderator, Town of Newton, New Hampshire Sandra Juno, Clerk, Brown County, Wisconsin Honorable Paul Pate, Iowa Secretary of State J. Kirk Showalter, General Registrar, City of Ri…

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Ned Foley: Ballot Battles in the Nineteenth Century Were Beset by Violence and Civil Strife; Not So in the Twentieth, and This Progress is Reason to Hope for Even More

…nrest, as a result of ballot-counting battles than the twentieth century.  From Pennnsylvania’s Buckshot War in Pennsylvania 1838 to Arkansas’s Brooks-Baxter War in 1872 to Kansas’s Legislative War of 1893, military confrontation over counting ballots in close elections was not uncommon.  The lowest moment came at the end of the nineteenth century, when one of the candidates in Kentucky’s 1899 election for governor was assassinated by his politic…

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“Bush v. Gore Fifteen Years Later: The Supreme Court and American Democracy”

…Democracy Tuesday, December 15, 2015 12:00 PM – 02:00 PM   Event Location: Open Society Foundations 1730 Pennsylvania Ave NW 7th Floor Washington, DC 20006 Details:  On December 15, ACS will host a panel discussion reflecting on the 2000 presidential election, the unprecedented court battle that ensued, and the Supreme Court decision that brought it to a close. As the 2016 presidential election quickly approaches, panelists will address bo…

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“Rich Tradition of Minority Party Representation Continues in Pennsylvania and Connecticut”

…hes for FairVote: An interesting thing happened this year on Election Day in towns, cities, and counties across Pennsylvania and Connecticut. Despite the odds being stacked against them, minority parties earned representation thanks to fair representation voting methods. Many of the jurisdictions we highlight that use these sorts of non-winner-take-all voting methods had those systems imposed upon them by judges in Voting Rights Act cases, but ju…

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“2016’s ‘Missing Voters’ Can Be Found with Automatic Voter Registration”

…million eligible citizens in those states—Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin—are missing from the voter rolls. Overall, these “missing voters” amount to half, and in some cases more than half, of the total votes cast for president in these states. This should ring huge alarm bells for those who care about our society’s health and future. Fortunately, there is a solution. In…

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“Gyrocopter Pilot Douglas Hughes: ‘I’m Proud of What I Did’”

…rge related to his gyrocopter flight to the Capitol in April — but he is not ashamed. The Florida man flew from Pennsylvania to the Capitol on April 15, to deliver letters to Congress pushing for a campaign finance overhaul. He was immediately arrested for breaching restricted airspace and later indicted on two felony and four misdemeanor charges. After several months of negotiations, Hughes is poised to accept a plea deal this month. “I’m proud…

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“Checks and Balance: Let the Sun Shine, Conservatives!”

…P. But last month’s report, released in tandem with the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School, drew instant fire from the Center for Competitive Politics, which promotes political deregulation. The CPA-Zicklin Index “is a deceptive tool used to sell more and more companies on the idea of corporate ‘transparency’ with the partisan goal of removing these voices from the public policy debate altogether…

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“Is There a Silver Lining to Citizens United?”

…chance requires post-2020 congressional redistricting with Democrats in control in such key states as Michigan, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and North Carolina, allowing the party to take control of the House in 2022. The Roberts court has deregulated campaign finance on the premise that the only legitimate grounds for restricting money in politics is to prevent explicit corruption. In doing so, however, the court has sanctioned a pervasively corrupt…

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“2015 CPA-Zicklin Index Expands to Cover S&P 500; Shows Steady Growth in Publicly Held Companies Adopting Political Disclosure, Restricting Spending”

…ers received sharply higher scores; 25 percent of companies place some type of restriction on their political spending; and almost nine out of 10 companies recognize the importance of adopting political spending policies. The Index was released today by the Center for Political Accountability in conjunction with the Carol and Lawrence Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania….

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“Could Donald Trump win the Republican presidential nomination?”

…tes will be holding their primaries after March 15:  Arizona, Utah, Wisconsin, Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Indiana, Nebraska, West Virginia, Oregon, California, Montana, New Jersey, New Mexico, South Dakota, and DC.  Apparently dates are not yet firmed up for New York, North Dakota, Utah, Colorado, Idaho, Kansas, Maine, Washington, and Wyoming.  Game theory suggests that there will be advantages to coming late pre…

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“Fattah Buttonholed Obama Directly, According to Indictment”

…cluded an in-person effort to get President Barack Obama to give a lobbyist an ambassadorship. Fattah, a powerful Pennsylvania Democrat, is a longtime ally of the president’s and a frequent visitor to the White House. But according to the indictment, Fattah abused his relationship with the president and his staff and tried to get the lobbyist a nomination, first as an ambassador and later as a member of “a federal trade commission.”…

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” U.S. District Court Rules Pennsylvania System of Imposing Costs on Minor Party Petitions that Lack Sufficient Signatures is Unconstitutional”

BAN: On July 24, U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence Stengel issued a 41-page opinion in Constitution Party of Pennsylvania v Cortes, e.d., 12-cv-2726. He determined that Pennsylvania’s system of charging huge court costs against petitioning candidates and groups violates the U.S. Constitution, as applied to the minor parties who filed the lawsuit. The three parties who filed the lawsuit are the Constitution, Green and Libertarian Parties. UPDATE…

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“Pilot Who Landed Gyrocopter at US Capitol Facing 6 Charges”

AP: A Florida man who piloted a gyrocopter through miles of America’s most restricted airspace before landing at the U.S. Capitol is now facing charges that carry up to 9½ years in prison….Hughes, who took off from Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, was arrested April 15 after he landed on the Capitol’s West Lawn. Hughes has said his flight was intended to call attention to the influence of big money in politics….

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Brennan Center, Volokh File Brief in Employee Candidate Case

…ion in democratic elections. On March 16, 2015, the Brennan Center for Justice, along with Common Cause and the Pennsylvania Center for the First Amendment, filed an amicus brief authored by Eugene Volokh, Gary T. Schwartz Professor of Law at UCLA School of Law, in Lawson v. Union County Clerk of Court. The brief supports Melanie Lawson, the plaintiff-appellant, in her appeal of the lower court’s decision upholding her termination. Lawson, while…

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Josh Douglas: “The Right to Vote Amendment is Worth At Least One Candle: A Reply to Heather Gerken”

…  Courts that properly construed their state constitutions as going beyond the federal constitution, such as in Pennsylvania and Arkansas, invalidated the voter ID laws.  But courts that lockstepped their state constitutional protection with federal law, such as in Georgia and Wisconsin, generally upheld the state’s laws.  If there were a right-to-vote provision in the U.S. Constitution, it is more likely that these courts would have lockstepped…

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“The Fall and Rise of Specialized Federal Constitutional Courts”

The final version of Michael Solimine’s very important article (University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law). Here is the abstract: Most constitutional challenges in federal court to federal statutes are litigated in the familiar pattern of a decision by a single U.S. District judge, followed by an appeal to a three-judge panel of one of the U.S. Court of Appeals, followed by the filing of a writ of certiorari in the U.S. Supr…

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“California State Appeals Court Hearing Goes Badly for Minor Parties”

…aine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, and Tennessee. The attorney for the state told the panel that the fact that few minor party or independents qualify for the November ballot is immaterial. In 1986, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld Washington state’s old system, a blanket primary in which all candidates ran in the September primary, and candidates who failed t…

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“New Census Estimates Show Slight Changes For Congressional Apportionment Now, But Point to Larger Changes by 2020”

…rict (going from their current 8 districts down to 7 districts). The new 2014 estimates shows the state of Texas will also gain a district (going from 36 to 37 districts), while the state of Pennsylvania will drop from 18 to 17 districts if apportionment was done with the new numbers. All other states would keep the same number of representatives they were awarded in December, 2010 when the official 2010 Census numbers were released….

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Election Law and Legislation at the AALS Annual Meeting

…Law Perspectives on Federal Power Under the Reconstruction Amendments (Papers to be published in University of Pennsylvania Journal of Constitutional Law Online) William D. Araiza, Brooklyn Law School Allison Orr Larsen, William & Mary Law School Douglas Laycock, University of Virginia School of Law Bertrall Ross, University of California, Berkeley School of Law Moderator: Derek T. Muller, Pepperdine University School of Law 2:00 pm –…

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“The Democratic Party’s Long Term Problem Is Worse Than You Think”

…ral difficulties Democrats face in taking back the U.S. House: “[E]ven in … big swing states [Ohio, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, and North Carolina] Republicans have large majorities in the state legislatures — a holdover from 2010 redistricting on the state level…. But even if Democrats were to get something approaching neutral maps in these big states, [Cook’s David] Wasserman estimates, it could result in just a c…

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“Measuring Illegal and Legal Corruption in American States”

…, Oregon, and Vermont. It is all bad news for Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, New Mexico, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania as their aggregate scores are in the highest quartiles of both illegal and legal corruption. Not so bad news for the Dakotas, Idaho, Massachusetts, Michigan, Oregon, Vermont, and Wyoming, which are perceived least corrupt both illegally and legally. I note that the survey’s definition of “legal corruption”…

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“Uncounted Votes The Racially Discriminatory Effects of Provisional Ballots”

…olorado, Kansas, Maryland, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, and Utah. The list of states and the number of provisional ballots cast—nearly 2 percent of all in-person ballots—suggest the option is being used beyond what was originally intended. “Provisional ballots were designed to be a fail safe to ensure voters can have their voice heard under unusual circumstances,”…

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We Get Letters

…more times than the lawful one time – particularly in Democrat strongholds and precincts. Florida, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and other states were captured by Democrat candidates in 2008 and 2012 by voter irregularities. Of course, with a DOJ headed by Eric Holder, those irregularities were swept aside. Well, look, toying with someone who declines to leave his email address with the liberalista Oregonian is no fun. It’s obvious to me that…

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Top Recent Downloads in Election Law on SSRN

…st Revised: 13 Sep 2014 9 44 Against Elections: The Lottocratic Alternative Alexander A. Guerrero University of Pennsylvania – Department of Philosophy Date posted to database: 30 Aug 2014 Last Revised: 30 Aug 2014 10 43 Empirically Measuring the Impact of Photo ID Over Time and Its Impact on Women Michael J. Pitts Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law Date posted to database: 12 Aug 2014 Last Revised: 12 Aug 2014…

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Breaking: Challengers to WI Voter ID Law Seek Emergency SCOTUS Order: Analysis

…ould not allow South Carolina’s voter id law to quickly go into effect without an orderly rollout, and in Pennsylvania, where the Pennsylvania Supreme Court would not allow an id law to go into effect without a chance for everyone who wants to get an id to be able to do so.  In the South Carolina case, the id law (as modified to make it less drastic) was allowed to go into effect by a three-judge court. In Pennsylvania, the state could neve…

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“Study: Major companies are increasingly disclosing their political spending”

…ucts the annual survey in conjunction with the Zicklin Center for Business Ethics Research at the University of Pennsylvania. CPI: Watch your Netflix show, wear your Ralph Lauren shirt, brew your Keurig coffee and deposit your paycheck at M&T Bank. Just know that you’re patronizing some of the nation’s least politically transparent companies, according to a new study to be formally released this morning by the nonpartisan Center f…

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WI Voter ID: Electoral Chaos Begins

…e right documents (or the right documents needed to get the right documents) in time for the imminent election. Even if voter id could be smoothly implemented in Wisconsin, it should not be done in this irresponsible way. In Pennsylvania, courts put the state’s voter id on hold when the state could not demonstrate it could get ids into the hands of voters who wanted them in time. Here, there’s no chance it can be done in time….

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A New Era for Pay-to-Play

…, TL Ventures violated the pay-to-play rule by continuing to accept compensation for advisory services from the Pennsylvania State Employees’ Retirement System (SERS) and the Philadelphia Retirement Board after one of its covered associates made campaign contributions to a candidate for Mayor of Philadelphia and Tom Corbett, the Governor of Pennsylvania ($2,500 and $2,000, respectively), which exceeded de minimis threshold.  These offices fall sq…

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“A bad bet: GOP Governors Assn. crossed state law with donation”

Philly.com: A POLITICAL-action committee set up to help Gov. Corbett win re-election received nearly $1 million from a billionaire casino investor barred from making political contributions in Pennsylvania. The Republican Governors Association, chaired by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, reported receiving $1 million for its federal political-action committee on Dec. 31 from Sheldon Adelson, CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corp….

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Breaking: Democratic Nominees to EAC Clear Senate Rules Committee

…of the Election Law Committee of the City of New York Bar Association.  She clerked for Judge Anita B. Brody of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and for Judge Julio M. Fuentes of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.  Ms. Pérez holds a B.A. from Yale College, an M.P.P. from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government, and a J.D. from Columbia Law School.  …

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New Proposed VRA Would Subject to Preclearance GA, LA, MS [corrected], and TX with More Possibly to Come, and Make Bail In Much Easier

…South Carolina and Virginia, which were previously subject to Section 5. Nor does it apply to states like Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin that have enacted new voting restrictions in the past few years. Moreover, rulings against voter ID laws – like in Texas in 2012 – will not count as a new violation. Voter ID laws can still be blocked by the Department of Justice or federal courts in the new states covered under Section 4, but that will not be…

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Final Version Now Posted of “The 2012 Voting Wars, Judicial Backstops, and the Resurrection of Bush v. Gore”

…tigation was a mixed bag. For example, courts approved some voter identification laws, rejected others, and put Pennsylvania’s and Wisconsin’s laws on hold for this election season but perhaps not beyond that. Overall, it appeared that in the most egregious cases of partisan overreach, courts were serving, often with surprising unanimity, as a judicial backstop. In Ohio, one of the twin epicenters (along with Florida) of the 2012 voting wars, two…

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“Motives for Chief Justice Castille’s retention run scrutinized”

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Chief Justice Ron Castille wants voters to give him one more 10-year term on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court, even though he will serve only a year because of the mandatory retirement law for judges. Castille is running for retention — a “yes” or “no” choice by voters on Nov. 5 — but he will turn 70 in March and must retire by Dec. 31, 2014. His campaign is fueled by a $50,000 contribution from the Philadelphia Trial La…

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“Judicial Watch Announces New Team Member Robert D. Popper”

…rney Robert D. Popper.  As Deputy Chief of the Voting Section of the Department of Justice (DOJ), he led complex litigations involving the Voting Rights Act, the National Voter Registration Act, and the Help America Vote Act, and he obtained favorable results in major lawsuits in Alabama, Arizona, Indiana, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, and California.  Mr. Popper will help lead Judicial Watch’s Election Integrity Project.”…

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