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37th Annual Jefferson B. Fordham Debate

October 15 @ 6:30 pm - 8:00 pm

Can We End Partisan Gerrymandering?

6:30 – Debate
7:30 – Q&A

6:30-8:00 p.m., Zoom webinar link »
In recent decades, state legislators have increasingly engaged in gerrymandering, drawing legislative districts in order to shape election outcomes and favor one political party over another. The Supreme Court has ruled that courts cannot address partisan gerrymandering, leaving the regulation of gerrymandering to the states. Some states have created independent commissions to draw district lines, but the legality of these commissions is also in question. Election law experts Rick Pildes (NYU) and Derek Mueller (Iowa) will debate what–if anything–can be done about partisan gerrymandering.

1 hour Utah CLE credit (pending). Free and open to the public.

Debate Participants:

Richard H. Pildes, Sudler Family Professor of Constitutional Law, New York University School of Law
Richard Pildes is one of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional law and a specialist in legal issues concerning democracy. A former law clerk to Justice Thurgood Marshall, he has been elected into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute, and has also received recognition as a Guggenheim Fellow and a Carnegie Scholar. In dozens of articles and his acclaimed casebook, The Law of Democracy, he has helped create an entirely new field of study in the law schools. His work in this field systematically explores legal and policy issues concerning the structure of democratic elections and institutions, such as the role of money in politics, the design of election districts, the regulation of political parties, the structure of voting systems, the representation of minority interests in democratic institutions, and similar issues. He has written on the rise of political polarization in the United States, the transformation of the presidential nominations process, the Voting Rights Act (including editing a book titled The Future of the Voting Rights Act), the dysfunction of America’s political processes, the role of the Supreme Court in overseeing American democracy, and the powers of the American President and Congress. In addition to his scholarship in these areas, he has written on national-security law, the design of the regulatory state, and American constitutional history and theory. As a lawyer, Pildes has successfully argued voting-rights and election-law cases before the United States Supreme Court and the courts of appeals, and as a well-known public commentator, he writes frequently for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and was part of the Emmy-nominated NBC breaking-news team for coverage of the 2000 Bush v. Gore contest.


Derek Muller, Professor of Law, Iowa Law School
Professor Derek Muller graduated with a Juris Doctorate from the University of Notre Dame Law School in 2007. Upon graduation, Professor Muller worked as a judicial clerk for the Honorable Raymond W. Gruender of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in St. Louis, Missouri. He then became an associate practicing litigation with Kirkland & Ellis L.L.P. of Chicago, Illinois from 2008 to 2010 before beginning his career in academia. Professor Muller has been a visiting professor at Penn State Law, the University of Iowa College of Law, and the University of Notre Dame Law School. In 2011 he became an Associate Professor at Pepperdine Law School and was granted tenure in 2017. Professor Muller has taught courses in Election Law, Federal Courts, Civil Procedure, Administrative Law, and Evidence and he will begin teaching at Iowa Law in the Fall semester of 2020.


Moderator: RonNell Andersen Jones, Lee E. Teitelbaum Endowed Professor of Law, University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law

The Fordham Debate is named in honor of Professor Jefferson B. Fordham, an outstanding legal scholar and defender of individual and civil rights who joined the University of Utah College of Law faculty in 1972. The annual debate addresses relevant contemporary public policy and legal issues.

For questions contact Kris (801) 585-3440.


October 15
6:30 pm - 8:00 pm
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College of Law
801-585-3440 | 801-585-3479


S. J. Quinney College of Law
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Salt Lake City, UT 84112 United States
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