Law in Motion--The Past, Present, and Future of American Elections

Legal Studies, with the generous support of the Jack Miller Center, proudly presents this year's Law in Motion conference. See below for event details:

The Past, Present and Future of American Elections

May 11-12, 2017

As the American electorate becomes more and more polarized, the rules governing elections have become ever more important. This small academic conference brings together scholars from a variety of disciplines whose work engages the connections between elections and the lawat various stages in American history.

Interested in attending? Email

Thursday 5:00 PM Keynote Address: The Annual Law in Motion Lecture

University Hall, rm. 122; Refreshments will be served after in University Hall rm. 118

Rick Hasen

Richard Hasen

Chancellors Professor of Law and Political Science, University of California, Irvine School of Law
"Race or Party, Party as Race, or Party All the Time: Three Uneasy Approaches to Conjoined Polarization in Redistricting and Voting Cases"
The last few decades have witnessed the emergence of what Bruce Cain and Emily Zhang term “conjoined polarization,” the overlapping of partisan and racial political identity, especially in the American South. Election law doctrine, which developed at a time when partisanship and racial identity did not overlap so neatly, has not caught up. Professor Hasen will present three potential approaches to conjoined polarization in redistricting and voting rights cases, and the problems with each approach.

Thursday 3:00 PM Panel: Graduate Student Panel

Kresge Hall, rm. 1515; Refreshments will be served

Gideon Cohn-Postar

Gideon is a second year American history PhD student studying voter intimidation and the enforcement of voting rights laws during Reconstruction and the Gilded Age. His paper is entitled "Mind How You Vote, Boys': Economic Intimidation and the Construction of an Illiberal Political Culture, 1873-1900.

Joshua Basseches

Joshua Basseches is a PhD student in the Sociology department, as well as a Graduate Fellow in Legal Studies and a Graduate Assistant at the Institute for Policy Research. His research interests lie at the intersection of political sociology (including social movements and collective behavior), environmental policy, and the sociology of law. His paper is entitled "Rethinking the Legislative Process: 'Buffering Opportunities' as Limits of Social Movement Influence in Environmental Policymaking."

Mara Sutton-Lea

Mara Suttmann-Lea is a PhD Candidate in political science at Northwestern University. Her research is situated at the intersection of state and local electoral institutions, campaigns, political participation, and American political development. Her current research examines how the responses of political actors to voting laws can have unintended consequences for American political behavior and the development of electoral politics. Her paper is entitled "Towards More Equal Participation? Early Voting, Mobilization, and Turnout Biases."

Friday 9:00 AM Panel: Elections Then--The First Contested Elections

620 Lincoln Street, Room 218; Breakfast will begin at 8:30

David Houpt

David Houpt

Lecturer, University of North Carolina Wilmington

Professor Houpt specializes in the history of Revolutionary America. His research focuses on the emergence of political parties and contested nature of democracy in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century America. His current book manuscript explores the evolution of different forms political mobilization in the decades following the Declaration of Independence and analyzes how the institutions and practices of American democracy took shape amidst debates over the proper role of citizens in the governing process.

Andy Trees

Andrew Trees

Postdoctoral Fellow, Roosevelt University

Andrew Trees is the Montesquieu Forum Post-Doctoral Fellow at Roosevelt University. He received his PhD from the University of Virginia and is the author of The Founding Fathers and the Politics of Character. 

Laurel Harbridge-YongLaurel Harbridge-Yong

Associate Professor, Northwestern University

Professor Harbridge-Yong is an associate professor of Political Science. Her teaching and research focuses on partisan conflict and the lack of bipartisan agreement in American politics. Her research examines why Congressional parties prioritize partisan conflict, focusing on both institutional changes and public preferences for bipartisanship.  Her recent research explores how congressional parties prioritize partisan conflict over bipartisan agreement, how this approach to legislating affects the responsiveness of members to their constituents and policy formation. Her paper is entitled "Passing the Buck in Congress: The Extent and Effectiveness of Blaming Others for Inaction."

Friday 11:00 AM Panel: Elections Now - The Current State of Election Law

620 Lincoln Street, room 218; Lunch to follow

Victoria Saker Woests

Victoria Saker Woeste

Research Professor at American Bar Foundation

Victoria Saker Woeste was educated at the University of Virginia (B.A.) and the University of California at Berkeley (M.A., Ph.D.), where she trained as an interdisciplinary academic in law and social science.  Since joining the American Bar Foundation in 1994, she has established herself as a leading scholar in the field of U.S. legal history, specifically twentieth century business regulation and political economy.  Her first book, The Farmer’s Benevolent Trust, won the Law and Society Association’s J. Willard Hurst Prize in 2000; in dissertation form it was awarded the 1993 Herman Krooss Prize of the Business History Conference.

Joe Salvatore

 Joe Salvatore

Clinical Associate Professor of Educational Theatre, New York University-Steinhardt School

Joe Salvatore is a playwright and director and has been on the faculty of the Program in Educational Theatre since Fall 2002. He teaches courses in ethnodrama, new play development, acting, directing, Shakespeare, and applied theatre. Joe's most recent work, in collaboration with Maria Guadalupe (INSEAD-Paris), is called Her Opponent , an ethnodramatic re-staging of the 2016 presidential debates with gender-reversed casting.