Rick Hasen on Judge Garland: A Moderate Liberal on Election Law Issues, With Questions About Boldness

by - March 17, 2016

With the caveat that the job of a lower court judge is to implement the Supreme Court’s rulings and the job of a Supreme Court Justice is to make those rulings not bound by a higher court, my view is that a Justice Garland would be moderately liberal on election law issues, probably voting with the four more liberal Justices in most election cases. I suspect he will be very willing to uphold challenged campaign finance regulations, especially disclosure regulations; that he would support relatively strong readings of the scope of the Voting Rights Act in protecting minority voting rights and voters’ rights in general; and that he would carefully balance the First Amendment rights of political parties and government interests in party cases, but not be very generous to third party claims. The big question is how far he would be willing to go in overturning or greatly extending precedent.

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