“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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“A Note On Federal Campaign Finance Reform: Limiting The Right To Make Campaign Contributions Without Violating The First Amendment”

William G. Grigsby, Professor Emeritus of City and Regional Planning, University of Pennsylvania, has written this draft.  Here is the abstract: The Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010), spawned an almost immediate outpouring of campaign donations by corporations, unions, and wealthy individuals to Presidential and Congressional.candidates. The bulk of these new contributions are…

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A Thoughtful Critic of My Take on North Carolina, and a Brief Response

…tougher and tougher (as in Texas and NC), more and more people stand in danger of being excluded.  And look at Pennsylvania: the state has yet to convince the courts (which seem to want to allow ID) that its department of transportation can actually get id’s into the hands of the many people who want them. That can be largely disenfranchising, which is why the PA courts have put that id law on hold. 3. Shenanigans: On cases where more peop…

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Breaking: Pa. Judge Enjoins State Voter ID, and Rule Allowing Poll Workers to Ask for ID, Until Final Judgment in Voter ID Challenge

…You can find the judge’s order here.  AP story here. While this is not a ruling on the ultimate merits of the case, the judge’s tone seems to suggest impatience with the state of Pennsylvania’s ability to actually get id’s into the hands of the voters that want it. The implicit assumption inf all of these voter id cases is that the state is competent to administer a voter id program. This may not be true in Pennsylvania….

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“Ruling Revives Florida Review of Voting Rolls”

…ipartisan compromise appears unlikely. Short of a grand solution, we need a moratorium on additional partisan changes to election rules that cannot be implemented before November without a significant risk of disenfranchisement. The courts should put Pennsylvania’s law on hold, and Florida should hold off on its plan to remove noncitizens until the off-season. Purging the rolls now risks removing many more eligible citizens than noncitizens….

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Are Purely Partisan Election Laws Unconstitutional: Bans on Straight Ticket Voting

…re, in 15 states: Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, West Virginia.  So would it also be the case that there is an affirmative constitutional right to be able to vote a ST option and that states must then provide that option?  And if not, can constitutional doctrine make illegal the elimination of an existing ST option, but permit s…

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“Finally, Real Numbers on Voter ID”

…couldn’t play a role in a close election—and close elections do happen. But Republicans expecting to flip Pennsylvania or Democrats fearing that Republicans will steal elections with voter ID should be circumspect about the comparatively modest electoral consequences. Many of the registered voters without a photo ID just aren’t voting and 40 percent of them are probably voting Republican. If you want voter ID because you think you&#82…

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Did Election Fraud Help Win the Civil War?

…the Senate.  The five largest states in the North, all of which had gone for Lincoln in 1860 — New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and Lincoln’s home state, Illinois — now sent Democratic majorities to Congress, as did New Jersey.  Without effective Republican control of the House, many of the legislative measures essential to the war and emancipation might not have been enacted during the critical years between 1863-65. But…

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“Voter ID On Trial: An Update From the Capitol”

WESA audio report: Pennsylvania’s controversial voter ID law has come back to trial in the Commonwealth court, and both sides are making serious plays.  WITF’s  capital reporter Mary Wilson says the first few days of testimony were brimming with testimony from those challenging the laws, but talk of voter fraud — one of the issues legislators emphasized most when passing the law — was surprisingly limited. Thus far the cases made aga…

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“Statistics dominate day 2 of Pa. voter ID trial”

…the law, one of the strictest in the nation, cannot be implemented without disenfranchising a large segment of Pennsylvania’s 8.2 million voters. But the state’s statistics expert, William Wecker, has criticized Siskin’s research in confidential court papers, excerpts from which the plaintiffs’ attorney displayed on a large video screen. Wecker said Siskin’s analysis exaggerates the problem by ignoring the fact many…

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“Pennsylvania Voter ID Law Could Disenfranchise More Than 500,000 People: Trial Expert”

HuffPo: A statistician testified on the second day of Pennsylvania’s latest trial over the constitutionality of the state’s voter identification law that hundreds of thousands of voters could be disenfranchised if the law is allowed to stand. Bernard Siskin, a statistical expert who served as a consultant for a variety of government agencies and companies, including the FBI, testified that about 511,000 registered voters in Pennsylvania la…

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