Election Law

In this course, we will discuss the basic themes surrounding the legal regulation of elections, politics, and the political process as a whole. We will cover all the major Supreme Court cases (and a few important lower court decisions) on the topics of voting rights, reapportionment/redistricting, ballot access, regulation of political parties, campaign finance, and the 2000 presidential election controversy. We will also discuss competing political philosophies; alternatives to the two-party system; and the role of the courts, the legislature, and direct democracy in our system. By the end of the course, the goal is that you will have a basic understanding of the structure, mechanics, and history of the political process in this country, but with an appreciation for the complexities of the right to vote and the difficulties involved in regulating the behavior of political actors. Toward the end of the semester, we will have a mock Supreme Court argument on the constitutionality of the 2006 amendments to the Voting Rights Act. This will hopefully be a welcome break from the stream of cases that we will have covered over the course of the semester, and it will also give you an opportunity to apply what you have learned. Course Requirements For each week, I have assigned several cases from our textbook, Samuel Issacharoff, Pamela Karlan & Richard Pildes, The Law of Democracy (3rd ed. 2007) (noted as Text) as well as supplemental materials from another textbook (Dan Lowenstein and Richard Hasen, Election Law) (4th ed. 2008) that will be available to you, along with other readings, in a course packet. Since there are many issues raised in this class that involve basic constitutional law doctrine, I will put some background materials on reserve to assist you with the assigned readings. This background reading is not required. ¿Tribe¿ refers to Laurence H. Tribe, American Constitutional Law (2nd ed. 1988 & 3rd ed. 2000). I will run the class using the basic Socratic method, but the format will be more discussion based for those days where we will be discussing policy issues. Each class, I will assume that you have read the assignments, and I will do my best to keep the reading load manageable. Class participation will count toward 10% of your grade. The final exam (comprising 90% of your grade) will be a one-day take-home consisting of three hypotheticals.

Catalog Number: CONPUB 661
Practice Areas: Administrative Law & GovtConstitutional Law

Course History

Spring 2014
Title: Election Law
Faculty: de Figueiredo, Miguel (courses  |  homepage)
Section: 1     Credits: 3.0
Capacity: 65     Actual: 16

Fall 2012
Title: Election Law
Faculty: Kasper, Michael
Section: 1     Credits: 2.0
Capacity: 25     Actual: 25