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Undergraduate Associates Program

Presidential Elections and the Law of Democracy

A Panel Discussion

November 14, 2008, 4:30 PM, Robertson Hall, Bowl 016

Mark Alexander, a senior advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, and Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School; Samuel Issacharoff, a specialist in constitutional and election law, and Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law; and Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law, will be here to discuss “Presidential Elections and the Law of Democracy.” LAPA Director Kim Lane Scheppele will moderate. This panel discussion is a LAPA Undergraduate Associates Series Event, presented by the Program in Law and Public Affairs.

Mark C. Alexander is Professor of Law at Seton Hall Law School. He is also Senior Advisor to President-elect Barack Obama, having worked on the Obama presidential campaign since January 2007, and serving as Policy Director and as New Jersey State Director. Professor Alexander was General Counsel to Cory Booker and the Booker Team in the 2006 Newark Municipal elections and then for Newark in Transition, as Mayor Booker moved to assume the office. He also served as Issues Director for the Bill Bradley for President Campaign in 1999-2000. He worked for U.S. Senators Edward Kennedy and Howard Metzenbaum, and served a two-year term as an elected official in the Washington, D.C. government. At Seton Hall Law School, Professor Alexander writes and teaches in the areas of Constitutional Law, Law & Politics, Criminal Procedure, and The First Amendment. His scholarship focuses on the intersection of law, politics and government and on free speech issues, with an emphasis on exploring new constitutional approaches to campaign finance reform. Professor Alexander clerked for Chief Judge Thelton Henderson of the United States District Court for the Northern District of California and was a litigator with Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher in San Francisco before joining the Seton Hall Law School faculty in 1996. He received his B.A. and J.D. from Yale University.

Samuel Issacharoff is the Bonnie and Richard Reiss Professor of Constitutional Law at the New York University School of Law. His wide-ranging research deals with constitutional law, particularly with regard to voting rights and electoral systems; issues in civil procedure (especially complex litigation and class actions); law and economics; and employment law. He is one of the pioneers in the law of the political process, where his Law of Democracy casebook (co-authored with Stanford’s Pam Karlan and NYU’s Rick Pildes) and dozens of articles have helped to create a vibrant new area of constitutional law. Professor Issacharoff is a 1983 graduate of the Yale Law School. After clerking, he spent the early part of his career as a voting rights lawyer. He then began his teaching career at the University of Texas in 1989, where he held the Joseph D. Jamail Centennial Chair in Law. In 1999, he moved to Columbia Law School, where he was the Harold R. Medina Professor of Procedural Jurisprudence. His published articles appear in every leading law review, as well as in leading journals in other fields. Among his publications are: Party Funding and Campaign Finance In International Perspective (Hart Press, 2006) (ed. with Keith Ewing), and "Law, Rules and Presidential Selection," 120 Political Science Quarterly 113 (2005). Professor Issacharoff is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Richard H. Pildes is Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law at New York University School of Law. He is one of the nation's leading scholars of public law and a specialist in legal issues affecting democracy.  Pildes, along with the co-authors of his acclaimed casebook, The Law of Democracy: Legal Structure of the Political Process (now in its second edition), has helped to create a new field of study in the law schools. Pildes is widely considered one of the nation's leading scholars on such topics as the Voting Rights Act, alternative voting systems (such as cumulative voting), the history of disfranchisement in the United States, and the general relationship between constitutional law and democratic politics in the design of democratic institutions themselves.  Apart from his academic work, Pildes has also served as a federal court-appointed independent expert on voting rights litigation, an assistant to a special master for the redistricting of a state legislature, and has worked with the State of North Carolina in redistricting litigation before the United States Supreme Court. In addition to his course on The Law of Democracy, Pildes also teaches courses in legislation, constitutional law, and administrative law.   Pildes received his A.B. in physical chemistry from Princeton, and his J.D. from Harvard. He clerked for Judge Abner J. Mikva of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit and for Justice Thurgood Marshall of the U.S. Supreme Court.