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Constitutional Law Scholars to Speak on the Electoral College

Vikram Amar and Michael Paulsen will discuss recent efforts to abolish the Electoral College and shift to a national popular vote for president in a presentation entitled, “The National Popular Vote: The End of the Electoral College?”, to be held at the College of Law on January 24, 2013, Noon - 1:15 p.m., Ares Auditorium (Room 164).

In the wake of the 2000 election, frustrated with the Electoral College, Vikram Amar and his brother, noted constitutional scholar Akhil Amar, helped to originate a plan called the National Popular Vote (NPV) Interstate Compact. They theorized that the Electoral College could be abolished without a constitutional amendment if states with a majority of Electoral College votes pledged to award their electoral votes to the popular vote winner. Because the Constitution specifically calls for states to choose the manner in which they select their electors, the Amar brothers argued that this would be constitutional. Most constitutional scholars, including Professor Paulsen, agree with this interpretation.

Since 2000, nine states representing 132 electoral votes (49% of those needed for the 270 majority) have passed NPV legislation. Two other states that represent 49 electoral votes have proposed legislation to join the NPV compact. Additionally, in the wake of the presidential election this past fall, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer proposed eliminating the Electoral College.

Associate Dean Amar and Professor Paulsen will discuss the history of the Electoral College, the specifics of the NPV Interstate Compact, and the implications of eliminating the Electoral College.

The presentation is free and no reservations are needed. A light lunch will be provided. Seating is first come, first served. This presentation is produced by the Rehnquist Center with co-sponsorship by the student chapters of the Federalist Society and the American Constitution Society at James E. Rogers College of Law.

Vikram Amar is Associate Dean of Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at UC Davis School of Law. He is a national authority on constitutional law, commenting frequently on the topic for national news outlets and in a biweekly column for Justia.com. He was one of the original proponents of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact.

Michael Paulsen is the Distinguished University Chair and Professor of Law at the University of St. Thomas School of Law. Professor Paulsen is a nationally recognized scholar in the area of constitutional interpretation and has published over fifty articles in legal publications including the Yale Law Journal, Stanford Law Review, Chicago Law Review, NYU Law Review, Texas Law Review, California Law Review, and the Georgetown Law Journal.


Posted:01/09/2013
Updated: 01/10/2013