In a project-based practicum course, students participate in a weekly seminar and work on a project under the supervision of their professors. This project-based practicum course will focus on election law. Students will participate in a two hour/week seminar and carry out 10 hours/week of project work under the direction of the course professors.
SEMINAR: The seminar portion of this course will focus on voting rights law--including the Voting Rights Act, constitutional protections on the right to vote and redistricting law--and will also cover some related areas of law, including regulation of campaign finance. In the area of voting rights, the course will specifically examine the state of voting rights law and litigation in the wake of the 2013 Suprememe Court decision in Shelby County V. Holder. The course will cover issues such as voter ID laws and other burdens on the right to vote, felon disenfranchisement, racial and partisan gerrymandering, and other voting-related topics based on current events. In the area of campagin finance, the focus will be on the law governing limits on contributions to candidates and the disclosure of funds contributed or spent to influence elections. Cases challenging these regulations as violative of the First Amendment have proliferated in the post-Citizens United world. Throughout the semester, students will be assigned several writing assignments that may include: complaints for potential federal lawsuits alleging violations of the Voting Rights Act and/or the United States Consitution; briefs or motions in pending voting rights cases; and other legal documents directly related to ongoing work in the voting rights and campaign finance fields. This practicum course will give students the opportunity, among other things to explore and weigh the governmental interests involved in voting and campaign finance restrictions against the rights those laws may infringe.
PROJECT WORK: Students in this practicum will have the opportunity to draft legal papers and/or briefs in current election law matters. Assignments will be based on pending cases and matters, but will involve a wide range of election law issues raising important questions of constitutional and statutory interpretation.