Saturday, July 30, 2011

More on the "final" redistricting plan in California

More from Politico, WaPo, LAT, AP, and NYT.  

"GOP crying foul over California redistricting"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this piece in the L.A. Daily News.

The shakeout from the commission's new maps remains to be seen, according to Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School. But she predicts there will be roughly 12 competitive congressional districts to emerge from the redrawn lines.

"Either it's incumbents, or the (voter) registration numbers show it could go either way," she said of the potentially combative districts.
Levinson also said that Republicans mistakenly believed that an independent commission re-drawing the lines, rather than members of a Democratic-heavy Legislature in Sacramento, could benefit them.
"The Republicans," she said, "didn't realize that they could get hurt."

Thursday, July 28, 2011

More coverage of the release of California's final redistricting plans

More from the Hill, Sac Bee, KPBS, and Mercury News

"California's final redistricting plan released"

KPCC has more here.

"Redistricting commission inches closer to forming districts"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the Santa Monica Daily Press.

"To be faced with a district where you've lost a majority of support must feel like a rug being pulled out from under you," said Jessica A. Levinson, a professor at the Loyola School of Law. "I'm not saying it's a bad thing, but it's very challenging for incumbents who find themselves in the same district as another incumbent, or in one that doesn't play to their strengths."


"These are not map makers, they're not elected, so who are they accountable to?" Levinson said. "Well, legislators may be more experienced in drawing lines, but there's an inherent conflict of interests when they do. I prefer someone with less of a dog in the fight."

"SEBA fund at issue: Witnesses say Erwin sought more power"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the Contra Costa Times.

But if the allegations are true, it is a quintessential example of laundering campaign contributions that "flies in the face of the law," said Jessica Levinson, a professor of government ethics and political reform at Loyola Law School.

"All around it's such a disappointing and offensive tale of badly behaving politicians and badly behaving donors," Levinson said. "It just looks like a systematic use of money and PACs to peddle influence and get access."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

"Goodbye Term Limits?"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece on is here.

Here is an excerpt:

I think term limits should be repealed all together. Under the current regime lawmakers do not have the time to develop the knowledge and expertise necessary to develop into topnotch (or at least better) legislators. That means lawmakers are more heavily dependent on staffers and lobbyists, two unelected groups who we may not want running things from behind closed doors. In addition, lawmakers are consistently eying the next prize. Presumably, and quite naturally, lawmakers will be distracted by trying land their next political job.

Monday, July 25, 2011

"A ballot box battle brewing over the 'Amazon tax'"

Jessica Levinson has this piece in Loyola Law School's "Summary Judgments" blog, also appearing in this Los Angeles Daily Journal.

Here is an excerpt:

A small but well-publicized part of California's newly enacted budget, the so-called "Amazon tax," looks to be the catalyst behind California's next big ballot initiative battle. The law requires Internet retailers with a "physical presence" in the state to collect a sales tax from customers in the state and expands the definition of physical presence to include online retailers that have related companies or affiliates in the state. After the passage of the law, Amazon promptly cut ties with approximately 10,000 affiliates in the state.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

"California Courts in Crisis"

Jessica Levinson is interviewed on Warren Olney's, "Which Way, L.A.?" on KCRW.

"COLONIES: Postmus was 'news wire' to opposition"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this piece in the Press Enterprise.

Jessica Levinson, a law professor with Loyola Law School in Los Angeles who specializes in government ethics, called such leaks offensive and a betrayal of the confidentiality of closed session. California government bodies are allowed under the Brown Act to discuss legal strategy behind closed doors to protect sensitive information, and releasing that information violates that law, she said.
"I think it basically decimates the ability to negotiate a fair and just settlement," she said.
"It's like playing cards with someone who knows what your card is. It becomes kind of a pointless exercise."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

"California Courts in Crisis"

Jessica Levinson will be on "Which Way, L.A.?" tonight at 7pm PT talking about budget cuts in the California court system. Click here for more.

Monday, July 18, 2011

"What if Carmageddon was Electoralypse?"

Jessica Levinson's latest piece on KCET is here.

Here is an excerpt:

Imagine, if you will, an alternative universe in which we pay as much attention to our political, governmental and electoral processes as we have to a potential two-day traffic jam.

"'Sister Wives' file lawsuit to prevent criminal polygamy charges"

Jessica Levinson is quoted here.

Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, says the Browns will argue that criminalizing polygamy violates the 14th Amendment’s guarantees of due process and equal protection, as well as the First Amendment’s clauses guaranteeing the free exercise of religion, free speech, and freedom of association.
“Kody Brown is saying it all boils down to holding that if you can’t criminalize private, same-sex conduct, then why can you criminalize polygamists?” says Ms. Levinson.

"Re-Shaping California's Political Landscape One Line at a Time"

Jessica Levinson blogs here.

The following is an excerpt:

"The political blood sport, commonly known as redistricting, hit a fever pitch on June 10, when California's newly-minted independent redistricting commission presented draft maps to the public.
Simply put, every 10 years we count how many people live here, and then we draw legislative lines according to that demographic information. While this may not sound particularly spicy, determining who draws district lines and how those lines are drawn evokes a legal and political struggle of epic proportions. Political wonks, voting rights attorneys, and interested members of the public know that where district lines are drawn can dictate the composition and balance of power in the state legislatures and Congress."

Monday, July 11, 2011

"Carmageddon: A Worthless Ordeal?"

Jessica Levinson's latest post on is here.

Recently I wrote about the upcoming apocalypse fondly called "Carmaggedon." My perspective on the Carmaggedon controversy has been, "no pain, go gain." While living through 53 hours of heavy traffic due to the closure of the 405 surely will not be pleasant, I thought it certainly must be worth it for the long-term good. A wider freeway must mean less traffic, right?

Friday, July 8, 2011

"Jerry Brown link benefits Oakland charter schools"

Jessica Levinson is quoted in this article in the SF Chronicle.

Such donations are "problematic for the integrity for the political process" because they can influence officials and avoid campaign contribution limits, said Loyola Law School Professor Jessica Levinson.
"Rather than giving to me, just give to my favorite charity," she said. "And I will know because I will have asked for the donation, and I will be appreciative."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

"California calls on citizen to redraw political lines"

Jessica Levinson is quoted. Reuters has more.

"Redistricting is absolutely a political blood sport for those who know about it, and it really determines the balance of power in state legislatures and Congress," said Jessica Levinson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

"Justices Strike Down 'Rescue Funds' Provision in Public Campaign Financing Laws"

Jessica Levinson's article about the Supreme Court's recent decision in Arizona Free Enterprise Club PAC v. Bennett (aka McComish v. Bennett) is here.

(The article first appeared in the Los Angeles Daily Journal, and was reposted on Loyola Law School's Blog, Summary Judgments).

Friday, July 1, 2011

"Fate Of Redevelopment Agencies Unclear"

Jessica Levinson is interviewed in this report by Katie Orr at KPBS.

— The state is relying on $1.7 billion from the elimination of redevelopment agencies across California to help balance its budget. The agencies would be allowed to continue only if they give millions of more dollars to local schools.

Redevelopment proponents have vowed to fight the state in court. Loyola law professor Jessica Levinson said lawsuits would likely be filed under Proposition 22. It passed last fall and prohibits the state from taking money designated for local use.

"Because that proposition is so complex, it’s not at all certain what the outcome of the case would be," she said. "Courts are typically reticent to weigh in on these political disputes, particularly disputes that deal with ballot measures."

Still, Levinson said because the law is so unclear, it may be appropriate for the courts to provide some guidance. If the issue is not overturned in court, the current legislation will stand.