November 12, 2006

Blawg Review # 83

Election Law is pleased to host Blawg Review # 83. As with last week's Blawg Review by Ed Still at Votelaw, this Review focuses on election law, in an effort to law blog the vote.

Before getting to this week's roundup, a bit about this blog. I am a law professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, where I teach and write in the areas of election law, legislation, torts, and remedies. (Most of the readers of my blog don't know that I've been spending lots of time over the last six months writing Remedies: Examples and Explanations for Aspen Publishers. I just finished the first draft last week, and I hope the book will be out in late Spring.)

This blog focuses on a number of areas related to election law, from campaign finance questions to redistricting to ballot measures. But in the weeks leading up to the election, most of my focus has been on the tremendous problems we have with election administation in the United States. I had been following a number of court cases before the election that may have made some difference in how some congressional races were decided. The rules, it seems, often are quite determinative when the parties compete so fiercely for the "median voter."

The public's interest in election administration issues is cyclical. About two months before national elections, reporters start calling to write their stories on whether we are going to have an election meltdown this season. Then, public interest gets more frenzied with reports that elections with national implications are too close to call, and may depend upon untested machinery or the decisions of election officials with partisan affiliations. It all makes for a lot of natonal anxiety. Fortunately, in 2006, like 2004 but not like 2000, we dodged a bullet barely on the national level. If Sen. Conrad Burns would have received just 500-700 more votes, we'd likely still be in that state of election anxiety now, with congressional outcomes remaining in the balance.

I wrote an oped in the NY Times Saturday giving my views on how we get out of this unfortunate biannual pattern. But I'm not the only one weighing in. Dan Tokaji of the Equal Vote Blog sees something strange going on in Sarasota, where 18,000 undervotes appear to be the result of machine malfunction, poor machine design, human error, or something else. Bob Bauer worries about Florida too. Mike Alvarez at Election Updates suspects poor ballot design. How ironic that the most curious voting problems this election are in Katherine Harris's old district. With 9 Congressional races still up in the air, the Election Law program at the Moritz School of Law at Ohio State has launched its much needed Recount Roundup and Electionline is on the job too.

Adam Bonin at Daily Kos seems sympathetic to my call for nonpartisan electon adminstration, believing that the people who run our elections should not have a vested interest in the outcome. His post has started a lively discussion, which includes a post from incoming California Secretary of State Debra Bowen. We'll see if other bloggers weigh in, especially Kos himself, who earlier endorsed vote by mail as a solution.

Meanwhile, Ed Still notes the irony that a new Florida law requiring future constitutional amendments to garner a 60% vote itself passed with less than 60% of the vote.

The CLCBlog looks at voter turnout.

Evan Schaeffer's Legal Underground says Let the Lawyer Bashing Begin.

Sandy Levinson blogs on Spoilers at Balkinization.

Robert Bennett at Northwestern's new blog writes Electoral College Reform Ain't Easy.

Political Wire asks if Howard Dean is in trouble. Only Democrats could be contemplating such a question after a victory rather than a loss.

Many blawgers have been writing about how the elections, with congressional power shifting to Democrats, will affect American law generally or particular substantive areas of the law, or about the elections more generally:

David Post at Volokh Conspiracy writes Happiness is...Divided Government.

At Blackprof, Spencer Overton writes
Wrong Question: Do YOU believe "Harold, call me" was racist?
and Terry Smith writes Some of My Best Friends are Black Republicans.

Walter Olson presents "The US election: how did the lawyers fare?" posted at PointOfLaw Forum.

Dennis Kennedy is happy the political phone calls are over in Missouri.

Bill Maher made some comments about certain Republican leaders who might be gay on Larry King Live. CNN edited the comments out for its later feed, but both feeds then appeared on YouTube. Copyfight sorts out the legal issues.

Heidi Kitrosser at Concurring Opinions writes My Congressional District Makes History!

Joseph Slater writing at Prawfsblawg writes The Elections and You(r Area of the Law).

Hari Osofsky at Opinio Juris writes Midterm elections and climate change.

William Patry at The Patry Copyright Blog writes What the Election May Mean for Copyright.

Bill McGeveran at Info/Law writes Election's Impact on Info/Law.

In other notable blawg posts this week:

The Editor at Blawg Review has a special remembrance for Veterans Day.

Howard Bashman who writes my favorite law blog and is my role model as a blogger has posted Ten Tips for Excellence in Appellate Advocacy on

Lyle Denniston at the indispensible SCOTUSBlog asks Can U.S. Courts Reach Overseas?

The human phenom that is Larry Solum offers Conduct Rules and Decision Rules at Legal Theory Blog.

Alfred L. Brophy at Ratio Juris writes
Mrs. Lincoln's Cat: The Future of the Legal History Book

Robert Ambrogi at Legal Blog Watch writes Net Pioneer Puts Challenge to Blogs.

Eugene Volokh has been blogging about a forthcoming Harvard Law Review article on payments for organs.

David Giacalone at f/k/a writes ripples: politics & poetry.

J. Craig Williams at May It Please the Court writes Do Gifted Students Have A Disability? Should "No Child Left Behind" Be "No Child Gets Ahead"?

Kevin O'Keefe at Real Lawyers Have Blogs writes Chicken Little and the ethics of lawyer blogs.

Jon Katz presents If Neil Young were a trial lawyer. posted at Underdog Blog.

Jonathan B. Wilson presents Quaker Litigation - II posted at PointOfLaw Forum.

Ted Frank presents Breaking: Obnoxious Chi Psi frat boys sue Borat posted at Overlawyered.

Fenwick puts bloglaw front and center with its Web 2.0 sponsorship by ZDNet's Denise Howell -- Silicon Valley law firm Fenwick & West could have chosen to market any of its practices in connection with sponsoring Web 2.0. In the past, a brochure on its intellectual property, corporate, or litigation practices might have been offered. But this year, Fenwick wants attendees to focus on the risks and rewards of blogging.

Finally, Evan Schaeffer rounds up the best law student blog posts of the week.
Blawg Review has information about next week's host, and instructions how to get your blawg posts reviewed in upcoming issues.

Posted by Rick Hasen at November 12, 2006 09:48 PM