If you can't win at the ballot box, try to win at the courthouse. That seems to be the strategy behind the growing cottage industry of election law. Liberal schools like Harvard Law have launched programs geared directly at training election lawyers. Harvard's Election Law Clinic claims to give students "hands-on litigation and advocacy work" in areas like redistricting and "voter suppression."
Mark Hemingway, senior writer at Real Clear Investigations who researched this extensively, says the Harvard program is anything but a non-partisan effort to train young lawyers in an expanding area of law. "The woman running the program is literally a former employee of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, and everyone else associated with it are basically hardcore liberal activists," he tells KTRH.
This is part of a broader strategy by the left to both change laws before Election Day, and challenge results afterward. They made use of this extensively last year, with lawsuits that successfully changed election policies in swing states like Pennsylvania and Georgia prior to the election. It's also happening here in Texas, where Democrat groups are challenging the state's new election law. "Loosening up a lot of these election laws was a big part of the Democratic Party's wish list, and had been for some time," says Hemingway. "And the pandemic allowed a lot of these lawsuits to go forward, that wouldn't have otherwise."
Critics point out that creating more of these election lawyers will only lead to more contested elections in the future. "I spoke with one expert who said the more lawyers you train in election law specialty, the more those lawyers are going to try to use that training to create new legal disputes," says Hemingway. "That's how this works."
The leaders of these programs claim they are responding to the rise in election-related legal cases, but Hemingway sees a more troubling consequence. "While it's true the market is expanding for this sort of thing, the fact that we're constantly litigating elections is kind of alarming, at a time when everybody is worried about democratic legitimacy," he says.