Resurrecting the White Primary
Ellen D. Katz
University of Michigan Law School
University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vol. 153, December 2004
This Article argues that the right to vote encompasses the right to participate in a competitive electoral process. It offers a revisionist reading of the White Primary Cases as recognizing this core principle and explains how recent case law sacrifices it by disregarding the importance of electoral competition to participation in a party primary. The Article also explores how current doctrine cedes to political parties, and to the Democratic Party in particular, the power to manipulate the racial composition of the primary electorate. Taken together, these developments create a legal structure resembling the one that supported the exclusion of African-American voters from determinative primary elections in the Jim Crow South. The Article concludes by exploring the ramifications of this parallel in light of the Court's decision last term in Vieth v. Jubelirer, which refused to impose meaningful curbs on partisan gerrymandering.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 51
Keywords: White primary, open primary, elections
JEL Classification: J70, J71, J78
Date posted: June 30, 2004
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