State Law

States of the Union

October 17, 2018

“After the 2016 election,” a recent video about the New York Senate primary begins, “New York State acted fast to pass these measures to resist Trump’s agenda: universal, single-payer healthcare; fully funded public schools; strong environmental safeguards; and sanctuary state legislation to protect all immigrants. Just kidding! That didn’t happen.” But, narrator Edie Falco continues,…

Jessica Bulman-Pozen

Democracy Reform, One Ballot at a Time

October 15, 2018

The way our democracy operates is on the ballot this November. Voters do not just elect people to public office; they can also dictate the rules for elections through ballot initiatives in many states. From creating independent redistricting commissions to adopting campaign finance measures to expanding voter eligibility and changing the way we vote, voters…

Joshua A. Douglas

Federalism Is in a Bad State

October 12, 2018

In November, voters will be asked to decide 6000 state legislative elections, with 87 of the nation’s 99 state legislative houses holding their regularly scheduled elections. But, on the day after Election Day, all of these elections will be understood by the mass media as having asked essentially only one question: Did voters support Donald…

David N. Schleicher

Florida Voters Have the Chance the Expand the Franchise in 2018

October 11, 2018

In November 2018, Florida’s Amendment 4 could restore the right to vote to people who faced disenfranchisement for the rest of their lives because of a felony criminal conviction. Controlling and limiting who can vote has a long American tradition. But the tradition of slowly but surely expanding the universe of who is eligible to…

Ciara Torres-Spelliscy

Replacing Judges with Computers Is Risky

February 20, 2018

Adopting technology for the sake of having it is an unwise move. Last year, the California Judicial Council proposed that California’s criminal courts jump on a failing bandwagon to inhibit and effectively replace judicial discretion with computer-based algorithms. The present judicial system already assesses each defendant, their previous criminal history, and ties to the community….

Quentin L. Kopp

Municipal Suffrage, Sanctuary Cities, and the Contested Meaning of Citizenship

January 19, 2018

In November 2016, the city of San Francisco enacted a ballot initiative that was somewhat overshadowed by other election results. It permitted noncitizens with children in the public school system to vote in school board elections. Though it is unclear whether the measure will have much practical impact on the city schools, the measure has…

Kenneth Stahl

Criminal Justice Reform Starts and Ends with the States

January 11, 2018

Criminal justice reform has the attention of the country, but it is at the state and local level where reform will be implemented. Much of the conversation about criminal justice reform has revolved around high-profile incidents in major U.S. cities like Cleveland and New York City — and on what the federal Department of Justice…

State Senator Eric P. Lesser

State Attorneys General And the Battle Against Federal Agency Overreach

December 11, 2017

Federal agencies overstepping their statutory and constitutional authorities, in order to aggregate power to the Executive Branch, has become an issue of especial concern in recent years in the legal academy. We saw this when President Barack Obama declared his intent to direct agencies to achieve through executive fiat what he had failed to secure…

Misha Tseytlin

Reforming Criminal Justice in an Era of Mass Deportation

During the Obama administration, officials deported a record number of immigrants, immigrant detention ballooned, and immigration crimes became the majority of federal prosecutions. Since President Trump took office, these trends have only intensified. As outlined in his January 25, 2017 Executive Order, the administration intends to hire thousands of new immigration officers, deny federal funding…

Ingrid Eagly

Costs of Money Bail to Justice

More than 200,000 bail bonds are posted in California each year, generating $308 million in non-refundable premium fees from accused persons, their families, and friends who post bail for them. Being detained in custody pretrial, even for a short period of time, can threaten an individual’s employment, housing, financial stability, and family. With roughly 90%…

Honorable Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye