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Rick Hasen
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Entries by Rick Hasen

Citizens United: What Happens Next?

(184) Comments | Posted January 21, 2010 | 12:53 PM

Today's Supreme Court opinion marks a very bad day for American democracy, and one that was totally avoidable. Make no mistake: the Supreme Court had ample ways (I count at least six) to have avoided deciding the issues in the case. The case will affect not just...

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Norm Coleman Unlikely to Prevail on Appeal

(184) Comments | Posted April 14, 2009 | 11:50 AM

I have taken a very quick look at the opinion of the three judge court in the Coleman election contest. Here are some initial thoughts.

1. A reasonable tone and tenor. This is a careful, unanimous opinion the a "tripartisan" 3-judge court. It makes findings of fact and conclusions...

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Election Litigation Threat Level: Still Orange

(0) Comments | Posted October 31, 2008 | 12:29 PM

It is a sign of how pathetic and dysfunctional our system of election administration is that once again news outlets are running their stories on armies of lawyers, potential election machine breakdowns, fear of voter fraud, and the potential of an election meltdown in Ohio or elsewhere leading to post-election...

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Eight Years After Bush v. Gore

(0) Comments | Posted October 20, 2008 | 12:11 PM

My latest Findlaw guest column, "Eight Years After Bush v. Gore, Why is There Still So Much Election Litigation and What Does This Mean for Voter Confidence in the Electoral Process?", is now available. My column begins:

    With Election Day just a few weeks away, newspapers and blogs...
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The ACORN Hysteria

(100) Comments | Posted October 17, 2008 | 1:08 PM

I'm usually not watching cable news in the morning, but I was watching MSNBC this morning and the lead story was ACORN and voter fraud (this was well before they turned to Michael McDonald's erudite analysis of the electoral map). The report, on the most pro-Democratic of the three news...

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The Purge Surge: Why the GOP Is Nuts About ACORN

(106) Comments | Posted October 10, 2008 | 7:03 PM

What explains the Republicans' fixation on ACORN in recent days? From Sen. McCain's campaign manager to GOP luminaries to the McCain campaign's own new web ad, ACORN appears to be target #1 of the GOP campaign against Senator Obama, surpassing even a focus on William Ayers. The...

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Did ABC News Bury the Lede?

(40) Comments | Posted September 11, 2008 | 9:02 PM

Before Part 1 of the the Gibson-Palin interview aired, ABC News teased it by making it about war against Russia. Ben Smith, however, correctly notes that in this respect she was stating the obligation of mutual defense of NATO members.

It seems to me the lede should have...

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The Obama Money Situation

(16) Comments | Posted September 9, 2008 | 1:30 PM

Today's New York Times features this front page story, which begins: "After months of record-breaking fund-raising, a new sense of urgency in Senator Barack Obama's fund-raising team is palpable as the full weight of the campaign's decision to bypass public financing for the general election is suddenly upon it."...

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The Palin Pick and Talk of McCain's Mortality

(20) Comments | Posted August 30, 2008 | 7:46 PM

An initial reaction to the McCain VP pick: does it not accentuate the talk about McCain's age in a way that a more experienced VP choice would have neutralized?

I've seen a lot of coverage about whether Palin would be ready in the event of the the death...

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If Sarah Palin is McCain's Harriet Miers, Can She Be Replaced by McCain?

(8) Comments | Posted August 30, 2008 | 12:43 PM

A quick Google search shows that a number of commentators (including Andrew Sullivan and Dahlia Lithwick) have already compared presumptive Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin to withdrawn Bush Supreme Court appointee Harriet Miers.

To be sure, there are parallels, including criticism of both by David Frum...

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Is the American Issues Project Breaking Campaign Finance Law?

(0) Comments | Posted August 26, 2008 | 3:07 PM

This post follows up on an earlier post linking to AP and Politico stories on the campaign finance controversy surrounding anti-Obama ads being run by a new group, American Issues Project. (There's a separate question whether the ads are accurate, and Sen. Obama's campaign has released a response ad...

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Today's Supreme Court Campaign Finance Decision is Bad News for Corporate Spending Limits and Public Financing Plans

(1) Comments | Posted June 26, 2008 | 11:33 AM

Today's Supreme Court opinion in FEC v. Davis nominally deals with a relatively tangential portion of the McCain-Feingold law; but the 5-4 decision has much broader implications, laying the groundwork for striking down limits on spending by corporations and unions. It also could make public financing plans less effecting...

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Thoughts on Sen. Obama's Decision to Opt Out of Public Financing

(233) Comments | Posted June 19, 2008 | 12:25 PM

You can find his video announcement here. The news is currently the lead story on the NYT website.

I find Senator Obama's decision completely defensible and unsurprising. The system is broken. We cannot expect opt ins by successful candidates, especially in the internet age which...

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The Opening on Exiting Public Financing that Sen. Obama Has Been Waiting For?

(15) Comments | Posted June 12, 2008 | 3:20 PM

Via TPM comes this interview in the Boston Herald in which Sen. McCain says that there's nothing he can do to stop 527 attacks on Sen. Obama. As TPM notes: "Obama's finance team has explicitly instructed donors not to give money to those groups. McCain, by contrast, seems...

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Senator Obama and the Decision to Opt Out of Public Financing

(29) Comments | Posted May 27, 2008 | 2:50 PM

Today's NY Times editorializes that Senator Obama, should he be the Democratic nominee, should opt into the public financing system in the general election:

    Earlier in the campaign, Mr. Obama vowed to accept the tighter alternative of public subsidy and its spending limitations -- a not-so-shabby $85 million...

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Hans von Spakovsky Withdraws Nomination for FEC Commissioner; What Will This Mean for Commissioner Mason?

(0) Comments | Posted May 16, 2008 | 5:37 PM

Here it comes on a lazy Friday afternoon:

TPM Muckraker has the details. The letter from von Spakovsky is here. More from AP and Roll Call on the President "reluctantly" accepting the withdrawal.

I think this almost certainly breaks the logjam for FEC nominations. I expect...

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Did the California Supreme Court Just Do John McCain an Inadvertent Favor?

(7) Comments | Posted May 15, 2008 | 3:06 PM

Today's 4-3 decision of the California Supreme Court striking down under the California Constitution a California statute limiting "marriage" to opposite-sex couples could help John McCain in the fall. (More coverage of the opinion itself at How Appealing.) The decision is based upon the California Constitution, which can...

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Throwing FEC Commissioner Mason Under the Bus to Help McCain?

(2) Comments | Posted May 7, 2008 | 12:04 AM

As a political junkie, I've been focused on the close race in Indiana, but another important political story, perhaps not coincidentally, dropped at the same time: President Bush has made a move to break the impasse over Federal Election Commission nominations. But rather than jettison the controversial nominee to the...

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Understanding the Supreme Court's Voter ID Decision

(31) Comments | Posted April 28, 2008 | 11:40 AM

Today's much anticipated decision in Crawford v. Marion County Election Board is a significant win for those who support stricter voter identification laws, even if they support such laws for partisan purposes. It will encourage further litigation, because it relegates challenges to laws imposing onerous burdens on a small...

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The Collapse of the Public Financing System for U.S. Presidential Campaigns: Blame Congress, Not the Candidates

(3) Comments | Posted April 22, 2008 | 3:52 PM

The voluntary public financing system for U.S. presidential candidates, established in the post-Watergate era, is in its last throes. As it collapses, presidential candidates have been calculating---and recalculating--the advantages of opting in or out.

Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, has accused Sen. Barack Obama, the likely (though...

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