Single Subject Rules and the Legislative Process
Michael D. Gilbert
University of Virginia School of Law
August 12, 2009
University of Pittsburgh Law Review, Vol. 67, p. 803, 2006
Despite generating thousands of cases on important public issues, the single subject rule remains a source of uncertainty and inconsistency. The root of the problem lies in the inability to define the term "subject" using legal doctrine. This paper reexamines the single subject rule through the lens of public choice theory and finds that its purposes are wrongheaded. Logrolling is not necessarily harmful, and improving political transparency requires legislative compromises to be packaged together rather than spread across multiple acts. Riding is not a form of logrolling but an analytically distinct and more threatening practice. This analysis yields a precise, political definition of "subject" and a new framework for resolving single subject disputes.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 68
Date posted: August 13, 2009 ; Last revised: October 25, 2015