By Forum Staff
Feb 6, 2023, 5:30 PM
On Tuesday, January 31, 2023, the Voting Rights and Democracy Project at the Fordham University School of Law hosted a reception to celebrate the publication of the Voting Rights and Democracy Forum’s inaugural issue. Opening remarks were given by Dean Matthew Diller and Project Director Jerry H. Goldfeder. Christina Das, an attorney in the Prepared to Vote and Voting Rights Defender Project at the NAACP-LDF, also spoke about her work on voting rights matters. Additionally, students were able to network with several members of the Project’s Board.
The Voting Rights and Democracy Project is extremely pleased to publish the first issue of our Forum, which includes essays by students, faculty and practitioners. I hope these and future articles contribute to the discussion of how we can effectively sustain our constitutional democracy. The students who worked on the Forum did terrific work and should be very proud.
Jerry H. Goldfeder
Faculty Advisor, Voting Rights and Democracy Forum
The Forum was created out of a need for a publication devoted specifically to voting rights and democracy issues. Given the increasingly political time that we live in, it is especially critical for something like this to be launched at Fordham Law.
Sarah Seo ’23
The Forum is accepting submissions for Issue No. 2, Issue No. 3, and the Commentary section. Please see here for more information. The Forum is published by the Voting Rights and Democracy Project, a nonpartisan initiative to prepare students to advise clients, litigate, reform laws and regulations, and provide a platform for discussing important issues in our democracy. Below is a complete list of the scholarly pieces included in Volume 1, Issue No. 1 with descriptions of each piece:
Volume 1, Issue No. 1
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 1 (2022)
Jerry H. Goldfeder, Director of the Voting Rights and Democracy Project and Adjunct Professor, Fordham University School of Law.
Professor Goldfeder’s Foreword asks whether the current political and legal climate in the United States indicates a serious backsliding of constitutional democracy. By offering a brief historical perspective of presidential elections, including various anti-democratic actions in the elections of 1876 and 2020, Professor Goldfeder offers an optimistic approach toward future elections and the ability of our Nation’s democratic institutions to withstand bad-faith actors.
The Consent of the Governed and the Right to Access the Ballot
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 7 (2022)
John D. Feerick, Dean Emeritus, Sidney C. Norris Chair of Law in Public Service, and Founder and Senior Counsel of the Feerick Center for Social Justice, Fordham University School of Law.
Recent elections and U.S. Supreme Court decisions have caused many to fear “reversals” of the progress made in expanding the right to vote. Dean Feerick’s Essay offers a brief historical perspective on the right to vote, and analyzes new issues that limit access to the ballot, which may ultimately decrease voter confidence in presidential elections.
Making it Harder to Challenge Election Districting
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 13 (2022)
Erwin Chemerinsky, Dean and Jesse H. Choper Distinguished Professor of Law, University of California, Berkeley School of Law.
In October 2022, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Merrill v. Milligan, a redistricting case that may have an enormous impact on the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Dean Chemerinsky’s Essay analyzes the implications of the Court’s February 2022 stay in Merrill, which allowed a congressional map—found violative by a three-judge federal district court panel—to be used in the 2022 primary and general elections.
Increasing Voter Investment in American Democracy: Proposals for Reform
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 18 (2022)
Adam Drake, Law Clerk at White & Case LLP; J.D. 2022, Fordham University School of Law.
This Article advocates for a five-prong approach to reform the United States’ electoral system. These reforms include implementing automatic voter registration, eliminating partisan gerrymandering, expanding the U.S. House of Representatives, establishing a national popular vote, and abolishing the filibuster in the U.S. Senate. With these five reforms in place, this Article argues that voters will feel more connected to their government which, in turn, will diminish voter apathy and alienation.
An Anniversary Best Uncelebrated: The 75th Year of the Presidential Succession Act of 1947
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 35 (2022)
Roy E. Brownell II, Author and Attorney; former Deputy Chief of Staff and Counsel to U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, & John Rogan, Legal Fellow, Fordham University School of Law.
In 1947, President Harry Truman signed the Presidential Succession Act into law—placing the Speaker of the House and the Senate president pro tempore in the presidential line of succession. This Article analyzes the statute’s shortcomings and argues that given the ever-present threats to the health and safety of the president and vice president, revisions need to be addressed now to ensure continuous leadership in the executive branch and reaffirm legitimate democratic governance.
Updating Anderson-Burdick to Evaluate Partisan Election Manipulation
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 44 (2022)
Andrew Vazquez, Law Clerk at Kramer Levin Nafalis & Frankel LLP; J.D. 2022, Fordham University School of Law.
This Article contends that the U.S. Supreme Court should acknowledge the realities of political partisanship when reviewing challenged election laws and regulations. By proposing a judicial test to evaluate for partisan biases—using factors modeled on those employed in Court precedent—this Article offers a new framework to thwart manipulation of election laws for partisan advantages.
Taking History Seriously: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Reflections on Progressive Lawyering, and Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 59 (2022)
Andrew G. Celli, Jr., Founding Partner, Emery Celli Brinckerhoff Abady Ward & Maazel LLP; Board Member, Fordham Voting Rights and Democracy Project.
This Article provides first-hand insight into the lawsuit brought by voters of Georgia’s fourteenth congressional district in their effort to disqualify U.S. Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene from the ballot—based upon Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment. In addition to providing a historical account of the Reconstruction Amendment, this Article offers legal analysis concerning whether the January 6th, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol was an “insurrection” and whether Representative Greene had “engaged in insurrection” in contravention to her oath.
Depoliticizing the Supreme Court Through Term Limits: A Worthwhile Effort
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 78 (2022)
Kara King, Law Clerk at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer LLP; J.D. 2022, Fordham University School of Law.
The U.S. Supreme Court is in a legitimacy crisis. As a result, policymakers and academics have put forth several proposals to reform the Court. This Article analyzes the arguments for and against an eighteen-year term limit. Although term limits may likely be politically challenging to enact, this Article argues that term limits could bring greater stability and restore confidence in the Court.
One Person, How Many Votes? Measuring Prison Malapportionment
1 Fordham Voting Rts. & Democracy F. 94 (2022)
Ian Bollag-Miller, Associate, Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale & Dorr LLP; J.D. 2022, Fordham University School of Law.
Although “one-person, one-vote” is a fundamental principle of democracy in the United States, vote distribution among population groups, in practice, is often less equal. This Article analyzes one specific example of a practice that distorts voter representation: prison malapportionment. This practice distributes legislative seats by counting incarcerated people in their prisons’ districts rather than their home districts. This Article presents a method to measure malapportionment that isolates the deviation from “one-person, one-vote” that arises specifically from prison malapportionment.