Letter in Support of Nomination of Dale E. Ho for Federal District Court Judgeship for Southern District of New York

I was very pleased to draft this letter in support of Dale Ho for a federal judgeship. A snippet:

I have known Mr. Ho for many years through his work on voting rights and democracy issues at the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and at the American Civil Liberties Union. As someone who follows election law legislation and litigation very closely in my role as professor of law and political science and as editor of the Election Law Blog, I have observed Mr. Ho as a litigator and as a Supreme Court advocate.  I have interviewed Mr. Ho and appeared on panels with him.

I carefully reviewed the transcript of his work as a trial court lawyer in the case of Fish v. Kobach, which I consider to be the most important voting rights trial so far of this century. I wrote in detail about the case and his role in it in my 2020 book, Election Meltdown: Dirty Tricks, Distrust, and the Threat to American Democracy (Yale University Press 2020). His advocacy in that case helped to reenfranchise at least 30,000 Kansans of all political parties who had their registrations put on hold by a law he demonstrated served no governmental interest.

From all of my observations, I can say that Mr. Ho is a brilliant lawyer. I believe his cross-examination skills are about the best I have ever seen, and his oral argument before the Supreme Court in Trump v. New York on the potential inclusion of a citizenship question on the census was masterful. In that oral argument, Mr. Ho relied upon text, precedent, and history to make an argument that ultimately proved successful before the Supreme Court in a case of national importance to our democracy.

Mr. Ho has shown himself consistently on the side of the voters, regardless of political party. He has defended Democrats, Republicans, and independent voters to assure that they have fair access to the ballot and an election system free of bias and partisanship. He is a zealous advocate who could have continued to pursue a career in private practice that no doubt would have been lucrative and successful; instead, he made the laudable choice to help protect our democracy and assure the fair administration of Justice.

Mr. Ho is a person of integrity. He has the ideal temperament to be a federal judge. He is evenhanded and even-keeled. Despite his passion for the cause of voting rights and democracy, he invariably shows deep respect to opposing counsel and to the judiciary. He has a commitment to fairness and the rule of law, and a great love for the United States Constitution and its promise of equality and fairness. I expect as a judge he will rule on the law and the facts, paying attention to text, history, and justice.

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