Monthly Archives: December 2011

Thank You and Happy New Year

Barring breaking legal developments (and we’ve seen an inordinate share of those in the last two weeks), posting will resume after New Year’s Day (and will be light the first week of January as I speak at AALS on Internet voting and at a panel on law blogging and argue for the City of San Diego on cross-motions for summary judgment in the Thalheimer campaign finance case).

The year ahead will be a busy one for election law, and especially for me beginning in the summer with the publication of The Voting Wars by Yale University Press.  I hope to do a mini-book tour in the fall talking about these issues before Election Day.  Also, save the date of September 14, 2012 for an exciting conference, Foxes, Henhouses, and Commissions: Assessing the Nonpartisan Model in Election Administration, Redistricting, and Campaign Finance,  at UC Irvine Law.

As the new year approaches, I want to thank my readers for their support.  Many people wonder how I am able to keep up with and report upon election law developments around the U.S. The answer is that I have many generous readers, who supply me with tips, links, and perceptive analysis which aids me greatly in the job I do here.  I could not do it without them!

I also want to thank my regular and occasional guest bloggers (especially Dan Tokaji and Justin Levitt, who regularly fill in for me when I am away) for their hard work and insightful analysis.

I also wish to thank the IT staffs first at Loyola, and now UCI, for keeping everything running smoothly.  There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work which readers do not see.  Thank you!

A happy, healthy, peaceful, prosperous 2012 election law year for all!

Share this:

Ninth Circuit Upholds Two, Strikes Down One, Wa. State Campaign Finance Laws

Family PAC v. McKenna:

We address the constitutionality of three provisions of Washington election law as applied to the political committees that support and oppose ballot measures. We hold that Washington’s disclosure requirements, Washington Revised Code § 42.17.090 and Washington Administrative Code § 390-16-034, which require these committees to disclose the name and address of contributors giving more than $25, and additionally to disclose the employer and occupation of contributors giving more than $100, survive exacting scrutiny because they are substantially related to the important governmental interest in informing the electorate. We hold that Washington Revised Code § 42.17.105(8), which prohibits a political committee from accepting from any one person contributions exceeding $5,000 within 21 days of a general election, is not closely drawn to achieve the state’s important interest in informing the electorate. Section 42.17.105(8) is therefore unconstitutional as applied to ballot measure committees. We affirm the judgment of the district court.

Share this:

DOJ Files SCOTUS Brief Mostly Supporting District Court Interim Maps in Texas Redistricting Case

You can read the brief here. (Texas redistricting has all the amicus briefs filed so far here.)  As I expected, DOJ (and soon the respondents) make much of the D.C. Circuit’s recent opinion denying preclearance of the underlying plans.  From the DOJ brief:

Here, by contrast, Texas has not been found tocarry its burden under Section 5, even in part. BecauseTexas elected to forgo administrative preclearance, the Attorney General has not been given the opportunity toobject (whether to certain districts, as in Upham, or more broadly). And the D.C. district court has not held in Texas’s favor on either prong of Section 5. To the contrary, the D.C. district court has unanimously denied Texas’s motion for summary judgment and found suffi-cient evidence of invidious purpose and retrogressive effect to warrant a trial. See p. 6,supra

.The evidence of invidious purpose (see p. 6,supra ) is particularly significant. The State acted in ways consis-tent with a focus on race, and the outcome of that race-focused process was a significantly discriminatory effect on minority voters–not just in particular districts but as a whole.  Compare Upham, 456 U.S. at 40 (requiring deference only as to particular districts as to which there was no “constitutional or statutory violation”). For instance, while minorities accounted for most of Texas’s population growth, none of Texas’s new congressional seats was drawn in a way that could augment minorities’ voting power.  The D.C. district court agreed that the government’s evidence to that effect could “provide significant circumstantial evidence” of discriminatory purpose.

Share this: