Judging the Law of Politics
Election law scholars are currently engaged in a vigorous debate regarding the wisdom of judicial supervision of democratic politics. Ever since the Court’s 1962 decision in Baker v. Carr, the Court has increasingly supervised a dizzying array of election-related matters. These include the regulation of political parties, access to electoral ballots, partisanship in electoral institutions, the role of race in the design of electoral structures, campaign financing, and the justifications for limiting the franchise. In particular, and as a consequence of the Court’s involvement in the 2000 presidential elections in Bush v. Gore, a central task of election law has been to ascertain the proper limits of judicial review of the electoral process. These events have spurred many scholars to argue that the Court should play a reduced role in supervising the democratic process. Other scholars have countered that judicial supervision of democratic politics is justified in order to safeguard democratic principles. Recently, two important and extremely thoughtful scholars of law and politics have staked opposing positions on this dynamic debate. Professor Richard L. Hasen11 is one of the most accomplished, respected, and prolific scholars of law and politics. He is also one of the leading advocates of the position that courts should be minimally involved in judging politics. In his new book, The Supreme Court and Election Law: Judging Equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore, Professor Hasen offers the first complete account, among contemporary election law scholars, of the purpose and scope of judicial review in democratic politics.