Guy-Uriel Charles

Charles Ogletree, Jr. Professor of Law

617-998-1742

Assistant: Marina Apostol / 617-496-1670

Biography

Guy-Uriel E. Charles teaches and writes about election law, race and law, constitutional law, and civil procedure. He is the founding director of the Duke Law Center on Law, Race and Politics.

He has published articles in Constitutional Commentary, The Michigan Law Review, The Michigan Journal of Race and Law, The Georgetown Law Journal, The Journal of Politics, The California Law Review, The North Carolina Law Review, and others. He is co-author of ELECTION LAW IN THE AMERICAN POLITICAL SYSTEM (with James Gardner) and RACIAL JUSTICE AND LAW: CASES AND MATERIALS (with Ralph Richard Banks, Kim Forde-Mazrui and Cristina Rodriguez). He is co-editor of THE NEW BLACK: WHAT HAS CHANGED AND WHAT HAS NOT WITH RACE IN AMERICA (with Kenneth Mack) and RACE, REFORM, AND REGULATION OF THE ELECTORAL PROCESS: RECURRING PUZZLES IN AMERICAN DEMOCRACY (with Heather Gerken and Michael Kang). He is currently working on a book on voting rights and the Voting Rights Act with Luis Fuentes-Rohwer entitled The American Promise: Rethinking Voting Rights Law and Policy for a Divided America.

Professor Charles received his JD from the University of Michigan Law School and clerked for The Honorable Damon J. Keith of the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. While at the University of Michigan, he was the founder and first editor-in-chief of the Michigan Journal of Race & Law. From 1995-2000, he was a graduate student in political science at the University of Michigan.

Before teaching at Duke, Professor Charles taught at the University of Minnesota Law School from 2000-2009. He later served as interim co-dean at the University of Minnesota from 2006-2008. He has been a visiting professor at Georgetown, Virginia, and Columbia law schools. A past member of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting and the Century Foundation Working Group on Election Reform, Professor Charles has served as the director of the Institute for Law & Politics, a Senior Fellow in Law and Politics at the Institute on Race and Poverty, and a Law School Faculty Affiliate at the Center for the Study of Political Psychology, University of Minnesota.

In 2006, he was awarded the distinguished teaching award at the University of Minnesota Law School. In 2016, he was awarded the distinguished teaching award at Duke Law School.

Areas of Interest

Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel Charles, The Shame of the Territories (Indiana Legal Stud. Rsch. Paper No. 458, 2021).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
,
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Legal History
Type: Article
Abstract
The US Supreme Court created a new doctrine—incorporation—as a temporary way station for newly acquired territories. The doctrine allowed Congress whatever time it needed to ensure that these new lands and its inhabitants were fit to join the United States permanently. The doctrine was also intended to serve an educative role, allowing for what the political elites of the day viewed as the uncivilized territorial subjects the needed time to acculturate to a supposedly superior Anglo-Saxon civilization. Yet a century later, territorial subjects remain unincorporated—and presumably implicitly uncivilized. Territorial subjects are stuck in a colonial status with no obvious path forward. All relevant institutions have shamefully failed them, from Congress and the President to the Supreme Court and federal agencies. In response to these failures, this Article argues that the status of Puerto Rico is a shame on the Constitution and our constitutional culture. It suggests that given that both the courts and the political process have been closed off to advocates who are seeking the end of colonialism in Puerto Rico, the only path forward is to shame the nation as a way to shift the constitutional norms at the heart of the colonial status of the territories. The Article draws from past historical moments to sketch out what role shame can play in constitutional interpretation and changing constitutional norms and jurisprudence.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, The Court's Voting-Rights Decision Was Worse Than People Think, The Atlantic (July 8, 2021).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Other
Abstract
The conservative majority’s opinion has declared that voter fraud, not racial discrimination, is a threat to the American system of representation.
David Canon, Guy-Uriel Charles, Edward Foley, Richard Hasen, Lisa Manheim, Charles Stewart & Daniel Tokaji, Restoring Trust in the Voting Process, 20 Election L. J. 141 (2021).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
On March 9, 2021, the Election Law Journal hosted a panel on “Restoring Trust in the Voting Process.”
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Pathological Racism, Chronic Racism & Targeted Universalism, 109 Cal. L. Rev. 1107 (2021).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Law & Social Change
,
Critical Legal Studies
Type: Article
Abstract
Race and law scholars almost uniformly prefer antisubordination to anticlassification as the best way to understand and adjudicate racism. In this short Essay, we explore whether the antisubordination framework is sufficiently capacious to meet our present demands for racial justice. We argue that the antisubordination approach relies on a particular conception of racism, which we call pathological racism, that limits its capacity for addressing the fundamental restructuring that racial justice requires. We suggest, in a manner that might be viewed as counterintuitive, that targeted universalist remedies might be more effective to address the long term racial inequality but might also be the more radical approach to addressing racial discrimination.
Guy-Uriel Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, No Voice, No Exit, But Loyalty? Puerto Rico and Constitutional Obligation, 26 Mich. J. Race & L. 133 (2021).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
Type: Article
Abstract
The Michigan Law Review is honored to have supported Professors Charles and Fuentes-Rohwer's Essay on the subjugated status of Puerto Rico as an "unincorporated territory." This Essay contextualizes Puerto Rico not as an anomalous colonial vestige but as fundamentally a part of the United States' ongoing commitment to racial economic domination. We are thrilled to highlight this work, which indicts our constitutional complacence with the second-class status of Puerto Rican citizens and demands a national commitment to self-determination for Puerto Rico.
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel Charles, Toward a Law and Politics of Racial Solidarity, 106 Cornell L. Rev. Online 50 (2021).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Criminal Law & Procedure
Sub-Categories:
Criminal Justice & Law Enforcement
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Civil Rights
Type: Article
Abstract
The killings of George Floyd, Michael Brown, Trayvon Martin, and others have occurred under different factual circumstances, in different states, at the hands of both state and private actors, and have engendered different levels of outrage on the basis of their perceived egregiousness. Collectively and cumulatively, they have forced Americans to, once again, wrestle with the visible manifestation of racism and structural inequality. This confrontation is not simply a function of the inability to avert one’s eyes when faced with incontrovertible evidence of evident inhumanity and abject degradation, though it is in part that. After all, how to justify the deployment of state power to literally snuff the breath of another human being who was otherwise harmlessly restrained and presented a threat to no one? Or, how not to be appalled by three white men effectively hunting down and shooting a black man who was simply jogging? These facts are self-evidently heinous, and the only acceptable reaction is outrage. Ours is a moment rife with the possibilities of racial justice. Fundamental change seems possible. The question for the future is about how to harness this moment to make this fundamental change real and lasting. How does a movement translate its demands into actionable policy? In this Essay, we argue for a three-step incremental process, from protest to politics to law. Taking as our example the case of the Voting Rights Act, we illustrate how the Freedom Movement went from its voting rights campaign to the heart of the Democratic Party and ultimately to August 6, 1965, when President Johnson signed the Voting Rights Act into law. Fundamental change, as we show in the pages that follow, requires all three steps.
Guy-Uriel Charles, How a Black Lives Matter co-creator Built a Movement From a Hashtag, Wash. Po. (Dec. 11, 2020), http://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/how-a-black-lives-matter-co-creator-built-a-movement-from-a-hashtag/2020/12/11/e596ee9e-3411-11eb-b59c-adb7153d10c2_story.html.
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
Type: News
Abstract
Book review of The Purpose of Power: How We Come Together When We Fall Apart by Alicia Garza.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Chiafalo: Constitutionalizing Historical Gloss in Law and Democratic Politics, 15 Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev. 15 (2020).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Motivated Reasoning, Post-Truth, and Election Law, 64 St. Louis U. L.J. 595 (2020).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, What’s Behind the Fight Over Wisconsin’s Primary? The Supreme Court’s Gerrymandering Ruling, Wash. Po. (Apr. 21, 2020), https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2020/04/21/republicans-democrats-fought-over-holding-wisconsins-election-thats-because-supreme-court-wont-rule-against-partisan-gerrymandering/.
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: News
Abstract
In Rucho v. Common Cause, the court could have curbed extreme partisanship.
Guy-Uriel Charles, Amicus Brief of Mathematicians, Law Professors, and Students in Support of Appellees and Affirmance in Rucho v. Common Cause (Mar. 8, 2019).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Other
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Dirty Thinking About Law & Democracy in Rucho v. Common Cause (Duke L. Sch. Pub. L. & Legal Theory Series No. 2019-78, 2019).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
This Essay, a precursor to a larger project, uses Rucho v. Common Cause, to argue that there are two different normative conception of politics in the Court's law and politics jurisprudence. For the conservative Justices on the Court, politics is sordid, partisan, and unfair. Law and politics cases, specifically political-gerrymandering claims, ask the Court to perform a task that courts are ill-equipped to perform, which is to clean up a process that is inherently dirty and to make fair a process that is inherently partial. Rucho, representing the Court's law and politics cases more broadly, is both an affirmation of a traditional conception of politics and also a rejection of a more modern conception that is beginning to find a foothold in American politics — with roots in the Court’s malapportionment jurisprudence — about how representative democratic institutions ought to operate. This more modern approach reflects the beliefs that representative electoral structures and American politics more generally ought to include some basic notion of fairness; a commitment to the public good without the hindrance of partisanship; and a conception of fair play that constrains the behavior of those who design electoral structures. In contrast to the majority in Rucho, proponents of the modern conception envision a role for the Court in enforcing basic rules of fairness and fair play while at the same time indirectly promoting a particular vision of the public good that is not filtered through partisan identity in the design of structures of representation. In order to understand the division in Rucho, why the plaintiffs in Rucho failed to win over the conservatives on the Court, and the Court's law and politics cases more broadly, we have to come to terms with these different worldviews on the Court. Is sordid politics an inherently necessary and arguably normatively good part of the political process, and thus a necessary part of our representative institutions? Relatedly, do substantive fairness principles exist — outside of race and the equal-population principle — that constrain political actors when they design electoral structures to favor themselves at the expense of their opponents? This essay explores those issues.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Slouching Toward Universality: A Brief History of Race, Voting, and Political Participation, 62 Howard L. J. 809 (2019).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
James A. Gardner & Guy-Uriel Charles, Election Law in the American Political System (2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Book
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Judicial Intervention as Judicial Restraint, 132 Harv. L. Rev. 236 (2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Margaret H. Lemos & Guy-Uriel Charles, Patriotic Philanthropy: Financing the State with Gifts to Government, 106 Calif. L. Rev. 1129 (2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Government Transparency
Type: Article
Abstract
This Article offers a positive and normative account of an important and growing trend: wealthy individuals are increasingly giving their money to the government to encourage the government to fund particular projects that these individuals want the government to pursue. Such gifts--dubbed "patriotic philanthropy" by one prominent donor--raise fundamental questions about the role that private money plays and ought to play in public policy-making. Legal academics have addressed these types of questions in other contexts, such as campaign financing, privatization of government, and private philanthropy. However, patriotic philanthropy, which presents a new and perhaps more effective way for wealthy individuals to influence the government, has generally escaped the attention of the legal literature. We aim to remedy that lacuna with this Article. Although we do not question the enormous good that patriotic philanthropy can do, this Article argues that gifts to government raise significant concerns about democratic profess, equality, and state capacity.
Margaret H. Lemos & Guy-Uriel Charles, Public Programs, Private Financing, 81 Law & Contemp. Probs. 137 (2018).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Law & Economics
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Race and Representation Revisited: The New Racial Gerrymandering Cases and Section 2 of the VRA, 59 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 1559 (2018).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Trina Jones, Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Angela Onwuachi-Willig, Foreword, 79 Law & Contemp. Probs. 1 (2016).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
Type: Article
Ralph R. Banks, Kim Forde-Mazrui, Guy-Uriel Charles & Cristina M. Rodriguez, Racial Justice and Law, Cases and Materials (2016).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Civil Rights
Type: Book
Abstract
White Supremacy pervades American history. Moreover, notwithstanding landmark civil rights gains and egalitarian aspirations, America remains segregated and unequal. This book examines the role of law in reinforcing and ameliorating racial injustice. Although surveying key historical precedents, its primary focus is the present. The book examines contemporary controversies across a variety of settings, animated by three fundamental questions: What is the current racial order? To what extent is it unjust? How can law and legal actors advance a more racially just order? The book uses cases, statutes and other sources of law, supplemented by problems and exercises, to equip students to both critique and construct pragmatic solutions to race-related controversies.
Guy-Uriel Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Reynolds Revisited, in Election Law Stories, 21-62 (2016).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Book
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Foreword: Reflections on Our Founding, 20 Mich. J. Race & L. 245 (2015).
Categories:
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Legal Education
,
Legal Research & Writing
,
Legal Scholarship
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Habermas, the Public Sphere, and the Creation of a Racial Counterpublic, 21 Mich. J. Race & L. 1 (2015).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
Sub-Categories:
Critical Legal Studies
,
Law & Political Theory
Type: Article
Abstract
In The Structural Transformation of the Public Sphere, Jürgen Habermas documented the historical emergence and fall of what he called the bourgeois public sphere, which he defined as “[a] sphere of private people come together as a public . . . to engage [public authorities] in a debate over the general rules governing relations in the basically privatized but publicly relevant sphere of commodity exchange and social labor.” This was a space where individuals gathered to discuss with each other, and sometimes with public officials, matters of shared concern. The aim of these gatherings was not simply discourse; these gatherings allowed the bourgeoisie to use their reason to determine the boundaries of public and private and to self-consciously develop the public sphere. As Habermas writes, “[t]he medium of this political confrontation was . . . people’s public use of their reason.” The bourgeois public didn’t simply participate, but it did so both directly and critically. The development of the bourgeois public as a critical, intellectual public took place in coffeehouses, in salons, and table societies. In Great Britain, Germany, and France, particularly, the coffeehouses and the salons “were centers of criticism—literary at first, then also political—in which began to emerge, between aristocratic society and bourgeois intellectuals, a certain parity of the educated.” Intellectual equals came together and deliberated, an equality that was key in ensuring the requisite openness and deliberation. No one person dominated the discussion due to his status within the deliberative community. Instead, and above all else, the “power of the better argument” won out. Two conditions were critical to these deliberations. First, equality was key to the public sphere. Membership in the public sphere meant that no one person was above the other and all arguments were similarly treated and scrutinized. Second, the principle of universal access was crucial.8The doors of the deliberative space were open to all comers and no group or person was purposefully shut out. Seen together, these two conditions provide a blueprint for deliberative practices in a democratic society.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Race, Federalism, and Voting Rights, 2015 U. Chi. Legal F. 113 (2015).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Federalism
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Reynolds Reconsidered, 67 Ala. L. Rev. 485 (2015).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, The Voting Rights Act in Winter: The Death of a Superstatue, 100 Iowa L. Rev. 1389 (2015).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
The Voting Rights Act ("VRA"), the most successful civil rights statute in American history, is dying. In the recent Shelby County decision, the U.S. Supreme Court signaled that the anti-discrimination model, long understood as the basis for the VRA originally enacted, is no longer the best way to understand today's voting rights questions. As a result, voting rights activists need to face up to the fact that voting rights law and policy are at a critical moment of transition. It is likely the case that the superstatute we once knew as the VRA is no more and is never to return. If so, we need to figure out what, if anything, can, will, or should replace it. But before figuring out where to go from here, we need to understand first how we arrived at the moment of the VRA's disintegration so as not to repeat the mistakes of the not too distant past. In this Article, we argue that the VRA is dying because the consensus over the existence and persistence of racial discrimination in voting has dissolved. From this premise, we outline three paths for the future of voting rights policy: (1) rebuilding a new consensus over the racial discrimination model; (2) forging a new consensus over what we call an autonomy model; or (3) reconceiving voting rights in universal terms.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Corruption Temptation, 102 Calif. L. Rev. 25 (2014).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Corruption
Type: Article
Abstract
In response to Professor Lawrence Lessig's Jorde Lecture, I suggest that corruption is not the proper conceptual vehicle for thinking about the problems that Professor Lessig wants us to think about. I argue that Professor Lessig's real concern is that, for the vast majority of citizens, wealth presents a significant barrier to political participation in the funding of campaigns. Professor Lessig ought to discuss the wealth problem directly. I conclude with three reasons why the corruption temptation ought to be resisted.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, State's Rights, Last Rites, and Voting Rights, 47 Conn. L. Rev. 481 (2014).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
There are two ways to read the Supreme Court's decision in Shelby County Alabama v. Holder: as a minimalist decision or as a decision that undermines the basic infrastructure of voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence. In this Article, we present the case for reading Shelby County as deeply destabilizing. We argue that Shelby County has undermined three assumptions that are foundational to voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence. First, the Court has generally granted primacy of the federal government over the states. Second, the Court has deferred to Congress particularly where Congress is regulating at the intersection of race and voting. Third, the Court and Congress have understood that racial discrimination is a problem and have operated from a similar conception of what racial discrimination means. Shelby County undermines all three assumptions. We explore what this means for voting rights policy, law, and jurisprudence going forward.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis E. Fuentes-Rohwer, Voting Rights Law and Policy in Transition, 127 Harv. L. Rev. F. 243 (2014).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel Charles, Dissent, Diversity, and Democracy: Heather Gerken and the Contingent Imperative of Minority Rule, 48 Tulsa L. Rev. 493 (2013).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Law & Political Theory
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Kenneth W. Mack & Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Introduction: The New Black and the Death of the Civil Rights Idea, in The New Black What Has Changed—and What Has Not—with Race in America (2013).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Discrimination
Type: Book
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Mapping a Post-Shelby County Contingency Strategy, 123 Yale L. J. F. 131 (2013).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
Professors Guy-Uriel Charles and Luis Fuentes-Rohwer argue that voting rights activists ought to be prepared for a future in which section 5 is not part of the landscape. If the Court strikes down section 5, an emerging ecosystem of private entitites and organized interest groups of various stripes--what they will call institutional intermediaries--may be willing and able to mimic the elements that made section 5 an effective regulatory device. As voting rights activists plot a post-Shelby County contingency strategy, they should both account for institutional intermediaries and think about the types of changes that could enhance the ability of these groups to better protect voting rights.
Guy-Uriel Charles, Daniel L. Chen & Mitu Gulati, Sonia Sotomayor and the Construction of Merit, 61 Emory L. J. 801 (2012).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
The appointment of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court in 2009 was criticized as sacrificing merit on the altar of identity politics. According to critics, Sotomayor was simply "not that smart." For some conservative critics, her selection illustrated the costs of affirmative action policies, in that this particular choice was going to produce a lower quality Supreme Court. For liberal critics, many were concerned that the President, by selecting Sotomayor, was squandering an opportunity to appoint an intellectual counterweight to conservative Justices like Antonin Scalia, Samuel Alito, and John Roberts. Using a set of basic measures of judicial merit, such as publication and citation rates for the years 2004 to 2006, when Sotomayor was on the Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, we compare her performance to that of her colleagues on the federal appeals courts. Sotomayor matches up well. She might turn out to be more of a force on the Court than the naysayers predicted.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, A Tribute to the Oracle of Ann Arbor, 16 Mich. J. Race & L. 143 (2011).
Categories:
Legal Profession
Sub-Categories:
Biography & Tribute
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Heather K. Gerken & Michael S. Kang, Introduction: The Future of Elections Scholarship, in Race Reform and Regulation of the Election Process (2011).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Book
Race, Reform, and Regulation of the Electoral Process: Recurring Puzzles in American Democracy (Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Heather K. Gerken & Michael S. Kang eds., 2011).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Book
Abstract
This book offers a critical reevaluation of three fundamental and interlocking themes in American democracy: the relationship between race and politics, the performance and reform of election systems, and the role of courts in regulating the political process. This edited volume features contributions from some of the leading voices in election law and social science. The authors address the recurring questions for American democracy and identify new challenges for the twenty-first century. They not only consider where current policy and scholarship is headed, but also suggest where it ought to go over the next two decades. The book thus provides intellectual guideposts for future scholarship and policy making in American democracy.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Section 2 Is Dead: Long Live Section 2, 160 U. PA. L. Rev. PENNumbra 219 (2011).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
In response to Christopher S. Elmendorf, Making Sense of Section 2: Of Biased Votes, Unconstitutional Elections, and Common Law Statutes, 160 U. Pa. L. Rev. 377 (2012).
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Can Mature Democracies Be Perfected?, 9 Election L. J. 157 (2010).
Categories:
Disciplinary Perspectives & Law
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Law & Political Theory
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Do We Care Enough about Racial Inequality Reflections on the River Runs Dry, 158 U. PA. L. Rev. PENNumbra 119 (2009).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
Type: Article
Abstract
In response to Kimberly West-Faulcon, The River Runs Dry: When Title VI Trumps State Anti-Affirmative Action Laws, 157 U. Pa. L. Rev. 1075 (2009).
Damla Ergun, Grace Deason, Eugene Borgida & Guy-Uriel Charles, Race and Redistricting: What the Print Media Conveys to the Public About the Role of Race, 64 J. Soc. Issues 619 (2008).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
In a series of voting rights cases, the U.S. Supreme Court held that race-based redistricting, particularly the intentional formation of majority–minority districts (districts in which voters of color constitute a majority of eligible voters) may be unconstitutional if race was the predominant factor in the formation of the district. The Court stated that “redistricting legislation that is so bizarre on its face that it is unexplainable on grounds other than race” may violate the Constitution because of the messages such districts send to the public ( Shaw v. Reno, 1993 ). Yet neither the Court nor social scientists have examined whether the existence of race-conscious majority–minority districts sends messages to voters and what the nature of these messages may be. This research begins to address this scientific issue. In a quantitative content analysis, we examined messages about racial redistricting conveyed to citizens via the print media. Our sample consisted of 355 newspaper articles about redistricting included in the Lexis–Nexis database between 1990 and 2005. We found that newspaper coverage of racial districting contains messages to citizens about the motives involved in redistricting, the individuals and groups who are responsible for it, and its actual and expected effects. This finding is consistent with the Supreme Court's assumption that districts, particularly bizarrely shaped ones, convey distinct messages to voters. The specific messages communicated varied in important ways across the articles. Newspapers in states subject to Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act because of their history of discrimination against voters of color covered racial redistricting differently than states not subject to Section 5. We discuss the legal and theoretical implications of these findings for understanding the role of race in legislative redistricting efforts.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Democracy and Distortion, 92 Cornell L. Rev. 601 (2007).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
This Article contends that judicial supervision of excessive manipulation of electoral lines for partisan purposes--political gerrymandering--may be justified in a mature democracy. The Article responds to the debate among courts and commentators over whether political gerrymandering presents any constitutionally relevant harms and, further, whether courts may be able to resolve the structural issues presented by political gerrymandering claims. Drawing from political theory and political science, this Article develops a theory of institutional distortion and provides a justification for aggressive judicial review of questions of democratic governance. The Article does not argue that the United States Supreme Court should regulate political gerrymandering; instead, it argues that such regulation can be justified. This Article also develops a framework of election law dualism to resolve the structural challenges that political gerrymandering poses to adjudication.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Race, Redistricting, and Representation, 68 Ohio St. L. J. 1185 (2007).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Supreme Court of the United States
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel E. Charles, The Politics of Preclearance, 12 Mich. J. Race & L. 513 (2007).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Congress & Legislation
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
This Essay examines recent changes of political motivation against the Department of Justice and its enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. These accusations appear well-deserved, on the strength of the Department's recent handling of the Texas redistricting submission and Georgia's voting identification requirement. This Essay reaches two conclusions. First, it is clear that Congress wished to secure its understanding of the Act into the future through its preclearance requirement. Many critics of the voting rights bill worried about the degree of discretion that the legislation accorded the Attorney General. Supporters worried as well, for this degree of discretion might lead to under-enforcement of the Act. Yet Congress chose not to act on those concerns while placing the Department of Justice at the center of its voting rights revolution. By and large, this is the way that the Supreme Court has understood the Department's role. Second, the currently available data do not support the charge that politics has played a central role in the Department's enforcement of its preclearance duties. This conclusion holds true for preclearance decisions up until the Clinton years. The data are ambiguous with respect to the Justice Department of President George W. Bush.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Toward a New Civil Rights Framework, 30 Harv. J. L. & Gender 353 (2007).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Are There Constitutional Limitations on Mid-Decade Redistricting, 34 PREVIEW U.S. Sup. Ct. Cas. 265 (2006).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Preclearance, Discrimination, and the Department of Justice: The Case of South Carolina, 57 S. C. L. Rev. 827 (2006).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
State & Local Government
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Rethinking Section 5, in The Future of the Voting Rights Act, 38-60 (2006).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Book
R. Michael Alvarez, Henry E. Brady, Guy-Uriel Charles et al., Challenges Facing the American Electoral System: Research Priorities for the Social Sciences (2005).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Other
Abstract
This report summarizes the activities and findings of the National Research Commission on Elections and Voting, organized in October, 2004 by the Social Science Research Council (SSRC) to serve as a scholarly resource for nonpartisan insight into challenges facing the American electoral process.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Colored Speech: Cross Burnings, Epistemics, and Triumph of the Crits?, 93 Geo. L. J. 575 (2005).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel Charles, Judging the Law of Politics, 103 Mich. L. Rev. 1099 (2005).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
Election law scholars are currently engaged in a vigorous debate regarding the wisdom of judicial supervision of democratic politics. Ever since the Court's 1962 decision in Baker v. Carr, the Court has increasingly supervised a dizzying array of election-related matters. These include the regulation of political parties, access to electoral ballots, partisanship in electoral institutions, the role of race in the design of electoral structures, campaign financing, and the justifications for limiting the franchise. In particular, and as a consequence of the Court's involvement in the 2000 presidential elections in Bush v. Gore, a central task of election law has been to ascertain the proper limits of judicial review of the electoral process. These events have spurred many scholars to argue that the Court should play a reduced role in supervising the democratic process. Other scholars have countered that judicial supervision of democratic politics is justified in order to safeguard democratic principles. Recently, two important and extremely thoughtful scholars of law and politics have staked opposing positions on this dynamic debate. Professor Richard L. Hasen11 is one of the most accomplished, respected, and prolific scholars of law and politics. He is also one of the leading advocates of the position that courts should be minimally involved in judging politics. In his new book, The Supreme Court and Election Law: Judging Equality from Baker v. Carr to Bush v. Gore, Professor Hasen offers the first complete account, among contemporary election law scholars, of the purpose and scope of judicial review in democratic politics.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Law, Politics, and Judicial Review: A Comment on Hansen, 31 J. Legis. 17 (2005).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Gregg D. Polsky & Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Regulating Section 527 Organizations, 73 Geo. Wash. L. Rev. 1000 (2005).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel Charles, Should Single-Member Districting Be Held Unconstitutional? If So, That Ruling Would Help Solve The Problem of Political Gerrymandering, FindLaw (Feb. 5, 2004), https://supreme.findlaw.com/legal-commentary/should-single-member-districting-be-held-unconstitutional.html.
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Other
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Affirmative Action and Colorblindness from the Original Position, 78 Tul. L. Rev. 2009 (2004).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
In this Article, the author explores Grutter v. Bollinger from the vantage point of the colorblindness principle. He posits that the Grutter decision is noteworthy for two reasons. First, the Court rejected the argument that the Constitution is colorblind and that classifcations based on race are per se unconstitutional. Second, the Court explicitly recognized that racial categorizations are not all morally equivalent. The author uses classical liberalism as a heuristic for exploring whether the colorblindness argument is necessarily a moral imperative. He ultimately concludes that the Court adopted the correct approach in Grutter in rejecting the allure of the colorblindness principle.
Vincent L. Hutchings, Harwood K. McClerking & Guy-Uriel Charles, Congressional Representation of Black Interests: Recognizing the Importance of Stability, 66 J. of Pol. 450 (2004).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
Congress & Legislation
Type: Article
Abstract
The relationship between black constituency size and congressional support for black interests has two important attributes: magnitude and stability. Although previous research has examined the first characteristic, scant attention has been directed at the second. This article examines the relationship between district racial composition and congressional voting patterns with a particular emphasis on the stability of support across different types of votes and different types of districts. We hypothesize that, among white Democrats, the influence of black constituency size will be less stable in the South, owing in part to this region's more racially divided constituencies. Examining LCCR scores from the 101st through 103rd Congress, we find that this expectation is largely confirmed. We also find that, among Republicans, the impact of black constituency size is most stable—albeit negligible in size—in the South. We conclude by discussing the implications of these findings for the relative merits of “influence districts” and “majority minority” districts.
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel E. Charles, In Defense of Deference, 21 Const. Comment. 133 (2004).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Fourteenth Amendment
,
Race & Ethnicity
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Mixing Metaphors: Voting, Dollars, and Campaign Finance Reform, 2 Election L. J. 271 (2003).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Racial Identity, Electoral Structures, and the First Amendment Right of Association, 91 Calif. L. Rev. 1209 (2003).
Categories:
Discrimination & Civil Rights
,
Government & Politics
,
Constitutional Law
Sub-Categories:
First Amendment
,
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Abstract
This Article develops a novel and provocative approach for thinking about the role of race in democratic politics. Professor Charles identifies the Supreme Court's descriptive and normative struggles with racial identity, which have led many on the Court to question the constitutionality of the Voting Rights Act. He relies upon the social identity literature in social psychology, as well as the race and politics literature in political science, to demonstrate empirically the relationship between racial and political identity. He then uses the right of association, particularly as developed by the Supreme Court in the party and ballot access cases, to argue that the First Amendment protects the right of voters of color to associate as voters of color where race and political identity are correlated. In so doing, he characterizes the Court's attempt to grasp the proper role of race in democratic politics as a deeper struggle between equality and liberty values. He concludes by suggesting a framework for balancing liberty and equality concerns in the design of electoral institutions.
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Constitutional Pluralism and Democratic Politics: Reflections on the Interpretive Approach of Baker v. Carr, 80 N.C. L. Rev. 1103 (2002).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
State & Local Government
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Abstract
Baker v. Carr is one of the Supreme Court's most important opinions, not least because its advent signaled the constitutionalization of democracy. Unfortunately, as is typical of the Court's numerous forays into democratic politics, the decision is not accompanied by an apparent vision of the relationship among democratic practice, constitutional law, and democratic theory. In this Article, Professor Charles revisits Baker and provides several democratic principles that he argues justifies the Court's decision to engage the democratic process. He examines the decision from the perspective of one of its chief contemporary critics, Justice Frankfurter. He sketches an approach, described as constitutional pluralism, for thinking about Baker and other cases involving judicial supervision of democratic politics. Using constitutional pluralism as an interpretive tool, he argues that the aim of judicial involvement in democratic politics ought to be vindicate specific demcratic principles. To the extent that the challenged democratic practice serves multiple and legitimate democratic ends, the federal courts should respect the judgmnet of democratic actors.
Luis Fuentes-Rohwer & Guy-Uriel Charles, The Electoral College, the Right to Vote, and Our Federalism: A Comment on a Lasting Institution, 29 Fla. St. U. L. Rev. 879 (2002).
Categories:
Government & Politics
Sub-Categories:
Elections & Voting
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles & Luis Fuentes-Rohwer, Challenges to Racial Redistricting in the New Millennium: Hunt v. Cromartie as a Case Study, 58 Wash. & Lee L. Rev. 227 (2001).
Categories:
Government & Politics
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Race & Ethnicity
,
Elections & Voting
,
Supreme Court of the United States
Type: Article
Guy-Uriel E. Charles, Fourth Amendment Accommodations: (Un)Compelling Public Needs, Balancing Acts, and the Fiction of Consent, 2 Mich. J. Race & L. 461 (1997).
Categories:
Constitutional Law
,
Discrimination & Civil Rights
Sub-Categories:
Fourth Amendment
,
Housing Law
Type: Article
Abstract
The problems of public housing--including crime, drugs, and gun violence--have received an enormous amount of national attention. Much attention has also focused on warrantless searches and consent searches as solutions to these problems. This Note addresses the constitutionality of these proposals and asserts that if the Supreme Court's current Fourth Amendment jurisprudence is taken to its logical extremes, warrantless searches in public housing can be found constitutional. The author argues, however, that such an interpretation fails to strike the proper balance between public need and privacy in the public housing context. The Note concludes by proposing alternative consent-based regimes that would pass constitutional muster.

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