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Constitutional Law And The Presidential Nomination Process, Richard Briffault Jan 2019

Constitutional Law And The Presidential Nomination Process, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

The Constitution says nothing about the presidential nominating process and has had little direct role in its evolution from congressional caucuses to party national conventions to our current primary-dominated system. Yet, constitutional law is a factor in empowering and constraining the principal actors in the nomination process and in shaping the framework for potential future changes.

The constitutional law of the presidential nomination process operates along two axes: government-party, and state-national. The government-party dimension focuses on the tension between the states and the federal government in writing the rules for and administering the electoral process – which may include the primary ...


A Better Financing System? The Death – And Possible Rebirth – Of The Presidential Nomination Public Financing Program, Richard Briffault Jan 2019

A Better Financing System? The Death – And Possible Rebirth – Of The Presidential Nomination Public Financing Program, Richard Briffault

Faculty Scholarship

In 1974 Congress authorized public funding for presidential nomination campaigns. Public funding was crucial to Jimmy Carter’s nomination in 1976 and to Ronald Reagan’s nearly successful campaign the same year, and continued to be an important factor in presidential nomination contests for more than two decades after that. But no major candidate has used the program since 2004. Due the program’s built-in limitations, changes in the nomination process, and campaign finance developments, the program is completely irrelevant today.

It has been argued that the program isn’t really needed. Although one argument for public funding is that ...