Cover image for The Supreme Court and election law : judging equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore
The Supreme Court and election law : judging equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore
Hasen, Richard L.
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Publication Information:
New York : New York University Press, c2̀003.
Physical Description:
xii, 227 . ; 24 cm
The Supreme Court of political equality -- Judicial unmanageability and political equality -- Protecting the core of political equality -- Deferring to political branches on contested equality claims -- Equality, not structure.
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KF4886 .H37 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

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In the first comprehensive study of election law since the Supreme Court decided Bush v. Gore , Richard L. Hasen rethinks the Court's role in regulating elections. Drawing on the case files of the Warren, Burger, and Rehnquist courts, Hasen roots the Court's intervention in political process cases to the landmark 1962 case, Baker v. Carr. The case opened the courts to a variety of election law disputes, to the point that the courts now control and direct major aspects of the American electoral process.

The Supreme Court does have a crucial role to play in protecting a socially constructed "core" of political equality principles, contends Hasen, but it should leave contested questions of political equality to the political process itself. Under this standard, many of the Court's most important election law cases from Baker to Bush have been wrongly decided.

Author Notes

Richard L. Hasen is Professor of Law and William M. Rains Fellow at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles.

Reviews 1

Choice Review

Unlike many of the other works analyzing election law and its problems in the wake of Bush v. Gore, Hasen (law, Loyola Univ.) has set out an especially ambitious goal for himself. Specifically, he seeks to justify a broader view of how courts should decide election law cases in general. In a nutshell, Hasen's argument posits that courts should act firmly when they are judging so-called "core political rights" (political equality rights that are a product of social consensus), while stepping more gingerly and providing only vague pronouncements when judging "contested rights" (rights that lack such consensus). To support his argument, Hasen analyzes numerous Supreme Court cases from Baker v. Carr (1962) through the present. Naturally, his argument invites just as many questions as it answers (How does one define a social consensus? Hasn't the court traditionally played a role in shifting consensus?, etc.). Still, Hasen's effort earns a place on the shelf alongside the works of Ackerman, Posner, and others who have been dutifully trying to make sense of this jurisprudence ever since the Florida 2000 fiasco. ^BSumming Up: Recommended. Primarily graduate students and law faculty; accessible to some undergraduates. D. Yalof University of Connecticut

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
Acknowledgmentsp. xi
Introduction: Mighty Platonic Guardiansp. 1
1 The Supreme Court of Political Equalityp. 14
2 Judicial Unmanageability and Political Equalityp. 47
3 Protecting the Core of Political Equalityp. 73
4 Deferring to Political Branches on Contested Equality Claimsp. 101
5 Equality, Not Structurep. 138
Conclusion: Political Equality and a Minimalist Courtp. 157
Appendix 1 Twentieth-Century Election Law Cases Decided by the Supreme Court in a Written Opinionp. 166
Appendix 2 Justice Goldberg's Proposed Dissent to a Per Curiam Summary Affirmance in Harper v. Virginia State Board of Electionsp. 176
Notesp. 189
Indexp. 221
About the Authorp. 227