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Faculty

Franita Tolson

Franita Tolson

Professor of Law

Last Updated: Wednesday, July 5, 2017

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Franita Tolson joined USC Gould School of Law in June 2017. Professor Tolson’s scholarship and teaching are focused on the areas of election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. She has written on a wide range of topics including partisan gerrymandering, campaign finance reform, the Elections Clause, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Her forthcoming book, A Promise Unfulfilled: Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Future of the Right to Vote, will be published in 2018 by Cambridge University Press.

Her research also has appeared in leading law reviews including the Vanderbilt Law Review, the Alabama Law Review, the Notre Dame Law Review, and the University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online. She has written or appeared as a commentator for various mass media outlets including The Huffington PostReuters, and Bloomberg Law.

Prior to joining the USC Gould faculty, Professor Tolson was the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law. Tolson was also a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law.

Before entering academia, she clerked for the Hon. Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Hon. Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois.

Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas Mulroy Prize for Oral Advocacy in the Hinton Moot Court Competition.

Works in Progress

  • The Lure of Federalism in Election Law Doctrine
  • Originalism and the Right to Vote

Books

  • A Promise Unfulfilled: Section 2 of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Future of the Right to Vote, under contract (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2018).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “The Equal Sovereignty Principle as Election Law Federalism Doctrine.” In American Federalism and Public Policy (Routledge, forthcoming 2017).
  • “Offering a New Vision for Equal Protection: The Story of Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections.” In Election Law Stories, edited by Joshua A. Douglas and Eugene D. Mazo, 63-86. Foundation Press, 2016.
  • “What is Abridgment? A Critique of Two Section Twos.” Alabama Law Review 67 (2016): 433. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Introduction: The Law of Democracy at a Crossroads: Reflecting on Fifty Years of Voting Rights and the Judicial Regulation of the Political Thicket.” Florida State University Law Review 43 (2016): 345. - (Hein) - (www)
  • “The Federalism Implications of Campaign Finance Regulation.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online 164 (2016): 247. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Protecting Political Participation through the Voter Qualifications Clause of Article I.” Boston College Law Review 56 (2015): 159. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights After Shelby County and Arizona Inter Tribal.” Election Law Journal 13 (2014): 322. - (SSRN) - (www)
  • “The Constitutional Structure of Voting Rights Enforcement.” Washington Law Review 89 (2014): 379. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “The Union as a Safeguard Against Faction: Congressional Gridlock as State Empowerment.” Notre Dame Law Review 88 (2013): 2267. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Second-Order Diverse in Name Only?: Sovereign Authority in Disaggregated Institutions.” Tulsa Law Review 48 (2013) 455. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Benign Partisanship.” Notre Dame Law Review 88 (2012): 395. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Reinventing Sovereignty?: Federalism as a Constraint on the Voting Rights Act.” Vanderbilt Law Review 65 (2012): 1195. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Partisan Gerrymandering as a Safeguard of Federalism.” Utah Law Review 2010 (2010): 859. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “The Boundaries of Litigating Unconscious Discrimination: Firm-Based Remedies in Response to a Hostile Judiciary.” Delaware Journal of Corporate Law 33 (2008): 347. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
  • “Increasing the Quantity and the Quality of the African-American Vote: Lessons for 2008 and Beyond.” Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy 10 (2008): 313. - (SSRN) - (Hein)

FACULTY IN THE NEWS

Bloomberg BNA
July 19, 2017
Re: John Matsusaka

John Matsusaka, director of the Initiative and Referendum Institute, was quoted on the effectiveness of ballot measures for enacting conceptual issues compared to regulatory issues. “In my mind, ballot propositions are good for conceptual issues—do you want to limit your property taxes, or do you want to have the death penalty or not,” Matsusaka said. “I don’t think it’s good for detailed regulatory structures.”

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Gillian Hadfield
May, 2017

Gillian Hadfield was appointed to serve on the ABA's new Commission on the Future of Legal Education.

Gillian Hadfield
May, 2017

"Silly Rules," Workshop of the Center for Human-Compatible Artificial Intelligence, University of California, Berkeley, CA.

Gillian Hadfield
May, 2017

Gillian Hadfield moderated "Hyperloop One and Autonomous Transportation:  A Test Case for Innovative Governance," Governance of Emerging Technologies Conference, Arizona State University, Phoenix, AZ.