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About the Book

Election Law and Litigation: The Judicial Regulation of Politics

Front Cover - Election Law and Litigation: The Judicial Regulation of Politics

Edward B. Foley
Chief Justice Thomas J. Moyer Professor for the Administration 
of Justice and the Rule of Law
The Ohio State University, Moritz College of Law

Michael J. Pitts
Professor of Law and Dean's Fellow 
Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Joshua A. Douglas 
Assistant Professor of Law
University of Kentucky College of Law

2014. 864 pages. ISBN: 978-0-7355-6999-7. With Teacher's Manual.

About the Book

Election Law and Litigation: The Judicial Regulation of Politics offers a student-friendly, practical approach with carefully-designed pedagogical features. Its streamlined approach tracks the chronological order of an election, with significant focus on election administration. The authors have considered carefully how to make this book as student-oriented as possible. The case selections reflect both the key Supreme Court decisions in this field, and also lower court decisions that are particularly well-suited to aid student comprehension. The cases are set up with introductory material that highlights for students the key points they should consider while reading. The cases are edited to remove any distractions, such as unnecessary text and lengthy citations. The notes after the cases provide the kinds of questions a professor might ask in class. There are no extraneous "case notes" or lengthy citations to lower court opinions or law review articles. Every aspect of this book is geared toward ensuring this is a true teaching text.

This landmark casebook features:
  • Distinctive organization: Streamlined, chronological approach tracks the election "life cycle" in chronological order of an election--from defining the district to run in, to appearing on the ballot, to running a campaign (including spending and campaign finance), to registering to vote and the casting and counting of ballots (including post-election disputes). The book is organized topically and in a straightforward way, which allows students to easily follow and develop their outlines.  Other books in the field tend to be organized thematically, rather than topically, which is harder for students to grasp as they attempt to comprehend the materials for themselves. 
  • Balance of coverage: Considerable devotion to all primary areas of election law, including districting and campaign finance, without overemphasizing any particular area to the detriment of others. The overall balance is designed to reflect the extent to which each topical area is producing innovative developments that an election lawyer would need to keep abreast of in order to advise clients in the political arena. 
  • Nonpartisan viewpoint: Allows students and professors to use the book comfortably, no matter their own personal political or ideological perspectives, and in a way that creates a classroom dynamic that is balanced and open to various partisan and political views. 
  • Practice-oriented: Acknowledges election law as a field that increasingly requires actual litigation and client counseling.  The book facilitates class discussions that permit role-playing and other pedagogical techniques that enable students to imagine representing clients in high-stakes, high-pressure situations. (One practice-oriented emphasis of the book is its collection of cases concerning fast-paced litigating seeking preliminary injunctions; in the real word, speed is often of utmost importance as part of litigation strategy and implementation.) Thus, the book permits both theoretical and practical approaches.
  • Practical coverage: Significant focus on election administration, the nuts-and-bolts of running an election, and post-election controversies. This book highlights the procedural dimension of election litigation, as appropriate, including how to build a factual record that can win a case even when legal doctrine seems to cut the other way.  Students enjoy, as well as learn from, this procedural emphasis. 
  • Real-world focus: Invites students to imagine election law from the judge's perspective: What motivates a judge's thinking, reasoning, and ultimate decision in an election case?  This approach is in keeping with the new emphasis on role of judicial psychology in the development of the law. Thus, students learn not only the rules and principles that animate election law, but also the skill of anticipating potential future legal developments by imagining why judges might wish to lead the law in a particular direction.  For example, the book invites students to think about how to frame arguments most likely to persuade a judge who might be predisposed to rule the other way. In this respect, this book is particularly useful to honing a student’s overall skills at “thinking like a lawyer”; although it’s for an elective course that’s “not on the bar,” this book is designed to train students in the craft of lawyering
  • Accessible for professors new to the field: Designed to be extremely accessible and “teachable” to a professor picking up election law for the first time as an additional area of preparation. (Election law is a great field for “applied jurisprudence”; professors who don’t specialize in election law, but who are interested in general theme of jurisprudence like “legal realism” and “legal process”, as well as the degree to which law is (and is not) separate from politics, can find election law an especially fruitful area of inquiry.)
  • Tightly-edited cases
  • Useful notes that help serve as classroom discussion tools
  • Up-to-date with the most recent Supreme Court and lower court decisions, including Shelby County (invalidating part of the Voting Rights Act) and lower court litigation involving the 2012 election.
  • Student- and professor-friendly: This is a "teaching" book in which each unit is designed to correspond to one hour of classroom teaching, with the cases and notes edited to conform to tight word limits, so that the amount of reading for each class is suitably tailored to the amount of time for class discussion. A professor teaching a three-credit survey course can expect to use most, if not all, of the book in the semester (thereby giving greatest possible value to students); a professor teaching a two-credit course has ample material, broken up in appropriate units, from which to choose.
  • Teacher’s Manual facilitates an easy preparation for professors teaching the course for the first time, as well as new ideas and approaches for veterans to the field.
  • Author website:

Preface / Sample Chapters