Monthly Archives: March 2011

Federal District Court Upholds McComish-Like Matching Funds Requirement in Wisconsin Supreme Court Elections

You can read the district court’s opinion granting summary judgment at this link.
It is a thoughtful discussion, and considers the possibility that the trigger funds might be constitutional in judicial elections even if the Supreme Court strikes down their use in legislative elections in McComish.
Also especially interesting is must-read footnote 3, which considers whether the explosion of campaign financing in Wisconsin Supreme Court races has been a partial cause of the marked decline of collegiality on that court. Very bold words for one judge to put in a judicial opinion calling attention to the problems of collegiality on another court.

Share this:

Election Law Litigation Remained at Double Its Pre-Bush v. Gore Rate

In two earlier articles, I showed how the rates of U.S. election litigation have more than doubled since the pre-2000 period. The data are described further in this National Law Journal article. My earlier articles tracked the data only through 2008. I have now, with the excellent assistance of the library staff at UCI Law, updated the figures for 2009 and 2010. The result: a very slight uptick in the number of cases, bringing the average post-2000 annual case figure from 237 to 239. (The pre-2000 figure is an average 94 cases per year.) You can find the updated data in Figure 3 in this updated version of my paper on the Supreme Court’s shrinking election law docket.

Share this:

“Reforming the Electoral College: Federalism, Majoritarianism, and the Perils of Sub-Constitutional Change”

Norman Williams has posted this draft on SSRN (forthcoming Georgetown Law Journal). Here is the abstract:

    Frustrated by their inability to secure passage of a federal constitutional amendment abolishing the Electoral College, its opponents have sought to establish the direct, popular election of the President by having individual states agree to appoint their presidential electors in accordance with the nationwide popular vote. Ostensibly designed to prevent elections, such as the one in 2000, in which the Electoral College “misfired” and chose the candidate who received fewer popular votes, the National Popular Vote Compact has been adopted by several states. In this article, I argue that National Popular Vote Compact is an unnecessary and dangerous reform. It is unnecessary because the Electoral College is only modestly malapportioned and less so than many other accepted features of the U.S. political process, which distort popular political preferences to a greater extent. Moreover, that malapportionment is simply the consequence of having a presidential election system that combines elements of majoritarianism and federalism, as other industrialized democracies have adopted. It is dangerous because the NPVC contains a host of defects that would make electoral misfires more likely and trigger a series of political and constitutional crises. The abolition or reform of the presidential election system requires a federal constitutional amendment; attempting to achieve some reform via a sub-constitutional agreement among several states risks creating a presidential election system that is neither workable nor fair.

Share this: