Teaching Election Law
13 Election L.J. 447 (2014)
17 Pages Posted: 25 Sep 2014 Last revised: 11 Mar 2015
Date Written: September 25, 2014
In the last couple years, new editions of the two most prominent election law casebooks have been released, and one entirely new casebook has been published. This is an opportune moment, then, both to review the volumes and to assess the state of the field. Fortunately, both are strong. All of the casebooks are well-organized, thorough in their coverage, and full of insightful commentary. And the field, at least as presented by the volumes, is impressively confident in its substantive and methodological choices. There is a high level of consensus as to both the subject areas that election law should include and the analytical methods that it should employ.
Instructors looking to select a casebook thus are faced with an embarrassment of riches. Because all of the volumes are excellent, my suggestion is that instructors make their choice based on their own substantive and methodological inclinations. Those who are most interested in representational issues and in doctrinal context should select Issacharoff, Karlan, and Pildes. Those who wish to emphasize campaign finance and empirical political science should choose Lowenstein, Hasen, and Tokaji. And those who want to focus on democratic theory, history, and an unusually wide array of sources should pick Gardner and Charles. There is no going wrong here.
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By Brian Leiter