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Article

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Lost in the Political Thicket: The Supreme Court, Election Law, and The Doctrinal Interregnum, 153 U. PENN. L. REV. 503 (2004)

Abstract

During the last year and a half, the Supreme Court has issued three important election law decisions in each of election law's main fiefdoms: race and redistricting, campaign finance, and the regulation of political parties. Each has already been the subject of extensive analysis and critique by specialists in each area. What has been missing from the commentary thus far, including that provided in this Symposium, has been an effort to connect the dots. Thus, in keeping with the move in election law toward understanding it as a coherent field of study, this Essay claims that these three seemingly disparate decisions can be understood as part of a story that began more than four decades ago, when the Court first entered the political thicket. The Court has long tried to use a conventional individual-rights framework-the bread-and-butter of legal analysis-to adjudicate what are often claims about the structure of the political process." An individual rights framework, however, does not provide adequate analytic tools for resolving such challenges, as the Court's most recent opinions reveal.

Date of Authorship for this Version

2004

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