Election Law in the American Political System
This new Election Law casebook, published by Aspen, and suitable for use in law schools and political science departments, offers a distinct alternative to casebooks currently on the market. Although election law, like any body of law, is a collection of constitutional provisions, statutes, and judicial rulings, it is also something more: election law establishes the ground rules by which politics itself is conducted. It is thus impossible, in our view, or at the very least inadvisable, to contemplate existing American election law without considering the kind of politics we have, and without asking whether it is the kind of politics we want, or deserve, or can justify. This book results, quite simply, from our wish for a set of course materials that places election law, as thoroughly as possible within the constraints of a typical classroom setting, in this broader context. It is designed to provide robust support for instructors who wish to ask questions about the efficacy, justifiability, and merits of contemporary politics and politico-legal institutions.
The book provides this support primarily in two ways. First, it organizes the material and offers an account of the field in a way that stresses the conceptual connections between legal regimes structuring different phases of the democratic process. Second, it draws frequently on democratic theory and empirical political science to provide tools to help answer, or at the very least to help frame and to ask, the really significant and challenging questions about the design and justifications of contemporary American election law. At the same time, the book’s judicious selection of cases and its use of more comprehensive case excerpts than are sometimes found in law school casebooks allow it to support equally teaching approaches that stress the intensive legal analysis of doctrine.