The Legal Structure of Democracy

Richard H. Pildes

in The Oxford Handbook of Law and Politics

Published in print August 2008 | ISBN: 9780199208425
Published online September 2009 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks of Political Science

 The Legal Structure of Democracy

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At both the macro and micro levels, law and political science have become increasingly intertwined in understanding the causes and effects of democratic institutions and processes. Recent years have spawned greater attention to the way in which the “nature” of democracy in different states, including the United States, is shaped by the specific ways in which the institutional and legal framework of democracy is designed. The focus of promising academic research ranges from the broadest issues of how different forms of power sharing among groups in deeply divided societies affect the stability, acceptance, and performance of democracies, to much less visible issues that nonetheless have considerable influence on the nature of democratic politics, such as how election districts are designed, how political parties choose their candidates, how elections are administered, and how election disputes are resolved. These issues are examined in the present article, along with gerrymandering and campaign finance.

Keywords: United States; democracy; elections; politics; law; political science; power sharing; gerrymandering; political parties; election districts

Article.  8236 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Political Theory ; Politics and Law

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