The Place of Competition in American Election Law, in the Marketplace of Democracy

Document Type



This forthcoming book chapter defines the problem of diminished political competition, describes the relevant legal analogies concerning regulation of economic competition, and explains how the law shapes the competitive environment for elections. It also details how Supreme Court justices have sometimes tried to incorporate competitiveness concerns into their election law decisions in cases concerning ballot access, redistricting, campaign finance, party reform, and term limits. For the most part, constitutional law proves to be both a blunt and a coarse instrument for addressing excesses of partisan greed or self-interest, but justices of varying ideological leanings have invoked such concerns (usually in dissent) to highlight why one or another election law violates the Constitution.

Date of Authorship for this Version

June 2006


Competition, Election Law