•  
  •  
 

Article Title

The Democracy Ratchet

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

Spring 2019

Publication Citation

94 Indiana Law Journal 451 (2019)

Abstract

This Article proceeds in five Parts. Part I identifies recent instances in which federal courts have invoked a version of the Democracy Ratchet. It identifies the salient traits of the Democracy Ratchet in these cases. Part II describes why the Democracy Ratchet has gained attention, primarily as a tactic of litigants and as a convenient benchmark in preliminary injunction cases. Part III examines the history of the major federal causes of action concerning election administration—Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act, the Burdick balancing test, and the Equal Protection Clause. In each, it traces the path of the doctrine to a point where a version of the Democracy Ratchet might be incorporated into the test. It concludes that these causes of action do not include a substantive Democracy Ratchet. Part IV turns to determine how the Democracy Ratchet might be used. It concludes that the Democracy Ratchet is best identified as an evidentiary device and a readily available remedy for courts fashioning relief. It then offers suggestions for its appropriate use. Part V identifies some concerns with existing use of the Democracy Ratchet and instances in which litigants or courts may incorrectly use the Democracy Ratchet. It offers guidance for courts handling changes to election laws.

Share

COinS