Reply to Hasen and Matsusaka

Columbia Law Review Sidebar, Vol. 110, No. 59, 2010

UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 1679533

4 Pages Posted: 20 Sep 2010  

Robert D. Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law

Michael D. Gilbert

University of Virginia School of Law

Abstract

The single subject rule, a widespread and oft-litigated state constitutional provision limiting ballot initiatives to one “subject,” has confounded judges, lawyers, and scholars for decades. The problem grows from the inability to define “subject” with precision. In A Theory of Direct Democracy and the Single Subject Rule, we attempt to solve this problem. We propose a democratic process theory of the rule, which interprets “subjects” in terms of voters’ preferences. Our theory yields a precise, objective test for determining if an initiative complies with the rule. Proper application of our test would achieve the rule’s purposes of eliminating logrolling and riding.

Professors Richard Hasen and John Matsusaka, experts in election law and direct democracy, are skeptical of our approach. We appreciate their thoughtful comments, which have contributed helpfully to the debate. However, we think their skepticism misses the mark. They seem to confuse opposition to the single subject rule itself with opposition to our test.

Suggested Citation

Cooter, Robert D. and Gilbert, Michael D., Reply to Hasen and Matsusaka. Columbia Law Review Sidebar, Vol. 110, No. 59, 2010; UC Berkeley Public Law Research Paper No. 1679533. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1679533

Robert D. Cooter

University of California, Berkeley - School of Law ( email )

Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States
510-642-0503 (Phone)
510-642-3767 (Fax)

Michael Gilbert (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

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