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Franita Tolson

Franita Tolson

Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs, and Professor of Law

Email:
Fax: (213) 740-5502
699 Exposition Blvd. Los Angeles, CA 90089-0074 USA Room: 402
Google Scholar Profile: Link
SSRN Author Page: Link

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Last Updated: September 1, 2020




Franita Tolson is Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of Southern California Gould School of Law. Her scholarship and teaching focus 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, political parties, the Elections Clause, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Her research has appeared in leading law reviews including the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review and Boston University Law Review. Her forthcoming book, In Congress We Trust?: Enforcing Voting Rights from the Founding to the Jim Crow Era, will be published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press.

As a nationally recognized expert in election law, Vice Dean Tolson has written for or appeared as a commentator for various mass media outlets including The New York Times, Reuters and Bloomberg Law. She has testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. She has also authored a legal analysis for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Richard Durbin, that would explicitly protect the right to vote. Vice Dean Tolson currently works as an election law analyst for CNN and co-hosts an election themed podcast, Free and Fair with Franita and Foley, with Ned Foley of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Prior to joining USC, Vice Dean Tolson was the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law and a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Before entering academia, she clerked for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois.

Vice Dean Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she will be a Visiting Professor of Law during the Spring 2021 academic quarter.    

Works in Progress

  • Reinventing Federalism?: The Status of Madison’s Constitution after the Reconstruction Amendments 
  • The Legislative Record
  • De Minimis Constitutional Violations

Books

  • In Congress We Trust?: Enforcing Voting Rights from the Founding to the Jim Crow Era, (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021).

Articles and Book Chapters

  • "The Spectrum of Congressional Authority over Elections," Boston University Law Review 99 (2019) 317. - (Hein) - (SSRN)
  • "Election Law “Federalism” and the Limits of the Antidiscrimination Framework," William & Mary Law Review 59 (2018) 2211.  - (Hein) - (SSRN)
  • “The Equal Sovereignty Principle as Federalism Sub-Doctrine: A Reassessment of Shelby County v. Holder,” in Controversies in American Federalism and Public Policy, edited by Christopher P. Banks, 171-186 (Routledge, 2018).
  • “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

Religion News Service
October 19, 2020
Re: Nomi Stolzenberg

Nomi Stolzenberg wrote an expert analysis about the history of the intersection between religion and the U.S. Supreme Court. "As a scholar who has studied the intersection of faith and law, I know that religion has always played a strong role in shaping the composition of the United States Supreme Court," she wrote. "The specific nature of that influence, however, has changed over time." The expert analysis also appeared in Church Leaders and Yahoo! Sports. It originally appeared in The Conversation.

RECENT SCHOLARSHIP

Jody David Armour
August, 2020

N*gga Theory: Race, Language, Unequal Justice, and the Law. Los Angeles, CA: Los Angeles Review of Books, 2020.

Clare Pastore
August, 2020

Clare Pastore wrote an op-ed, "An Answer for an Expected Tsunami of Evictions" posted to Cal Matters on August 10, 2020. 

Clare Pastore
August, 2020

Poverty Law: Practice, and Policy (with Juliet Brodie, Ezra Rosser, and Jeffrey Selbin). 2nd ed, Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer Aspen Casebook Series, 2020.