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Tag: election law

ELS Speaker Series: Will Consovoy

By: Nate Burchard

On October 25, 2016, the William & Mary Election Law Society Speaker Series hosted attorney Will Consovoy. Consovoy is an appellate attorney and founding partner of Consovoy McCarthy Park LLC, co-director of the George Mason University School of Law Supreme Court Clinic, and former law clerk to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

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Linda Greenhouse Speaks at William & Mary School of Law

By: Caiti Anderson & Kelsey Dolin

William & Mary Law School had the pleasure of hosting Linda Greenhouse on September 22. Ms. Greenhouse is a Pulitzer Prize winning columnist for the New York Times who has covered the Supreme Court for thirty years.

She is also a Senior Research Scholar in Law, Knight Distinguished Journalist in Residence, and Joseph Goldstein Lecturer in Law at Yale Law School, where she teaches various courses on the Supreme Court. Her books include Becoming Justice Blackmun, Before Roe v. Wade: Voices that Shaped the Abortion Debate Before the Supreme Court’s Ruling, The U.S. Supreme Court: A Very Short Introduction and The Burger Court and the Rise of the Judicial Right (written with Michael J. Graetz).

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Minor v. Happersett: The Supreme Court and Women’s Suffrage

By: Caiti Anderson
Following the Civil War, the women’s suffrage movement followed two different paths to gain the right to vote. The American Woman Suffrage Association (AWSA) advocated a state-by-state approach to suffrage, lobbying individual states to pass laws allowing women to vote. On the other hand, the more radical organization, the National Woman Suffrage Association (NWSA), pushed women’s suffrage on a national scale. After the Fifteenth Amendment excluded women, NWSA leaders brainstormed other ways women could gain suffrage, including an additional amendment. However, there were some who believed that the equal rights clause of the Fourteenth Amendment already granted women the right to vote. In order to prove this, the women’s suffrage movement needed a woman to attempt to register to vote. Upon being turned away, this woman would sue and continually appeal until her case came before the Supreme Court. As one of the architects of this plan, Virginia Minor fit the description perfectly.

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Recent New Jersey State Election Law Limits Delivery of Mail-In Ballots by Authorized Individuals

By Briana Cornelius

On August 10, 2015, the New Jersey legislature passed a new state election law, Public Law 2015, Chapter 84, which limits the number of “Vote by Mail” ballots that a designated delivery person can pick up and deliver on behalf of other registered voters. Under the New Jersey “Vote by Mail Law,” an “authorized messenger” is an individual who is permitted to obtain mail-in ballots for other qualified voters. Previously, authorized messengers were allowed to obtain up to ten ballots for delivery to other voters, and “bearers” were permitted to return an unlimited number of completed ballots to county election boards on behalf of other voters.  The new law, which took effect immediately, reduces the number of ballots that both an authorized messenger and bearer can deliver to just three. This change in the law (you can see the previous version of the law here) represents the first time there has been any limit on the number of ballots that a bearer can deliver to county election officials.

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Robo-calls, in Montana and Elsewhere

By: Cameron Boster

           Background

Missoula, Montana, is a beautiful city. There are mountains in the distance, tall, deep-green trees everywhere, old buildings – and a rocky, white-swirling river moving through it. No reasonable person seeing Missoula for the first time would think to focus on the city’s current robo-call election law controversy.

This month, parents of students enrolled in Missoula’s schools received automated phone calls containing a message from Missoula’s mayor, John Engen. The content of the message is available on Youtube. In short, the message urges parents to vote on an upcoming bond, tells them where and how they can cast their ballot, and ends with this encouragement: “Thank you for everything you do to support your children, and to ensure a positive future for your family – and our wonderful community.”

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Conflicted Court Likely to Reverse 4th Circuit in Maryland Redistricting Case

By: Hayley Steffen

The stakes were high at oral argument for Shapiro v. McManus on November 4, 2015. Justice Breyer said Shapiro and his co-plaintiffs “want[ed] to raise about as important a question as you can imagine . . . And if they [were] right, that would affect congressional districts and legislative districts throughout the nation.” It was clear that the justices struggled with the serious implications that their decision could have for future redistricting and partisan gerrymandering cases.

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Native-Hawaiian Self Determination Election Survives Equal Protection Challenge

By: Mollie Topic

In October 2015, a U.S. district judge sitting in Honolulu denied a motion for preliminary injunction to halt an election that is open only to Native Hawaiians. The litigation in Akina v. Hawaii arises out of the Nai Aupuni election, an election process that is ultimately designed to help Native Hawaiians achieve self-determination.

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Former Chief of the DOJ voting section visits William and Mary

Last week John K. Tanner visited William and Mary Law to talk to students about his 40+ years of experience in election law. Mr. Tanner is the former Chief of the voting section of the DOJ, having joined the section in 1976. Most recently, Mr. Tanner represented the Texas Legislative Black Caucus in the recent Texas redistricting suit.

Mr. Tanner met with students to discuss the complicated issues behind the Texas redistricting plan and the subsequent law suits. The suit represented by Mr. Tanner, along with similar suits filed, led to the Supreme Court’s approval of a federal court drawn plan late last month. Redistricting in Texas was taken out of the hands of the legislature after protests that the plan unlawfully discriminated against minorities. Continue reading

Five Questions for political law attorney Chris DeLacy

By Kevin Elliker

Chris DeLacy is a partner at Holland & Knight in Washington, DC, where he leads their Political Law Group and also serves as general counsel to the Holland & Knight Committee for Effective Government PAC. A graduate of William & Mary Law School, Mr. DeLacy has served as counsel and legal advisor to Senator John Warner, the Technology Subcommittee of the House Science Committee, and the Virginia General Assembly. As a political law attorney he advises clients on a number of political compliance issues, including campaign finance, Congressional gifts and travel, and lobbying. In November 2011 he visited William & Mary Law School, where he spoke to the W&M Election Law Society regarding his experience and expertise in political and election law.

When you spoke at the W&M Election Law Society’s luncheon event I was struck by the variety of issues you spoke of that related to the election law field. Could you discuss the array of cases that you see through your work that stem from your expertise in election and campaign finance law?

A political law practice touches on a wide-variety of legal issues including campaign finance, government ethics, lobbying compliance, pay-to-play, white collar, non-profit, and tax. It also involves a fair amount of non-legal advice related to politics and plain old common sense. I have handled cases that involve the Federal Election Commission, the Senate Ethics Committee, the Office of Congressional Ethics, Inspector General Investigations, Department of Justice investigations, the Maryland Board of Ethics, and the Texas Board of Ethics. However, the vast majority of my work involves advice related to political law compliance, which is intended to prevent issues from ever progressing to the investigation or enforcement stage. Continue reading

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