The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process

Second Edition

David K. Ryden, Editor

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The U.S. Supreme Court—at least until Bush v. Gore—had seemed to float along in an apolitical haze in the mind of the electorate. It was the executive branch and the legislative branch that mucked about in politics getting dirty, the judicial branch kept its robes—and nose—clean. The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process makes it abundantly clear however that before, during, and after the judicial decision that made George W. Bush the President of the United States, everything was, is, and will likely be, politics-including the decisions handed down by the highest court in the land.

This revised and updated edition takes into account not only the recent famous (or infamous, depending on the reader's point of view) judicial decision on the Presidency, but a myriad of others as well in which the U.S. Supreme Court has considered the constitutionality of a wide range of issues involving voting and elections, representation, and political participation. Practitioners and academics in both law and political science examine a number of court actions that directly affect how we choose those who govern us, and how those decisions have affected our electoral politics, constitutional doctrine, and the fundamental concepts of democracy, including: racial redistricting, term limits, political patronage, campaign finance regulations, third-party ballot access, and state ballot initiatives limiting civil liberties.

Of the first edition, CHOICE said, The U.S. Supreme Court and the Electoral Process "plumbs the Supreme Court's constitutive apolitical role as 'primary shaper of the electoral system' and reveals the pervasive involvement of the Court in the political process."

Table of Contents

Foreword to the Second Edition
Lee Epstein


1. The U.S. Supreme Court, The Electoral Process, and the Quest for Representation: An Overview
David K. Ryden

Part I: The Judicial Search for Electoral Representation

2. Representation Rights and the Rehnquist Years: The Viability of the "Communities of Interest" Approach
Nancy Maveety

3. Vote Dilution, Party Dilution, and the Voting Rights Act: The Search for "Fair and Effective Representation"
Howard A. Scarrow

4. Districting and the Meanings of Pluralism: The Court's Futile Search for Standards in Kiryas Joel
Stephen E. Gottlieb

Part II: Political Parties: The Key to, Or the Scourge of, Representation?

5. Back to the Future: The Enduring Dilemmas Revealed in the Supreme Court's Treatment of Political Parties
Michael A. Fitts

6. Partisan Autonomy of State Regulatory Authority? The Court as Mediator
Paul R. Petterson

7. The Supreme Court's Patronage Decisions and the Theory and Practice of Politics
Cynthia Grant Brown

Part III: The Court and Political Reform: Friend or Foe?

8. Entrenching the Two-Party System: The Supreme Court's Fusion Decision
Douglas J. Amy

9. To Curb Parties or to Court Them? Seeking a Constitutional Framework for Campaign Finance Reform
David K. Ryden

10. Plebiscites and Minority Rights: A Contrarian View
Bradley A. Smith

Part IV: "Out of the Shadows": Bush v. Gore, the Court, and the Selection of a President

11. Bush v. Gore Typifies the Rehnquist Court's Hostility to Voters
Stephen E. Gottlieb

12. An Agnostic Assessment of the 2000 Presidential Election
Mark E. Rush

13. What Bush v. Gore Does and Does Not Tell Us about the Supreme Court and Electoral Politics
David K. Ryden

14. The Imperiousness of Bush v. Gore
Jeff Polet

Part V: The Court, the Constitution, and Election Law: Merging Practice and Theory

15. The Supreme Court Has No Theory of Politics—and Be Thankful for Small Favors
Daniel H. Lowenstein

16. The Supreme Court as Architect of Election Law: Summing Up, Looking Ahead
David K. Ryden

Table of Cases



Supplemental Materials


About the Author

David K. Ryden is associate professor of political science and Towsley Research Scholar at Hope College, Holland, Michigan, and author of Representation in Crisis: The U.S. Supreme Court, Interest Groups, and Political Parties.

384 pp., 6 x 9

Sep 2002

384 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-0-87840-886-3
Sep 2002

384 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-472-5
Sep 2002

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