Wednesday, March 25, 2015

"California attorney general to ask judge to halt 'shoot the gays' initiative"

Nice to speak with Anita Chabira for this piece in the Guardian.   

Loyola law school professor and election law expert Jessica Levinson agreed with that opinion, adding that Harris would likely ask the judge to “kick it off because it is clearly unconstitutional”. Levinson added that it is unclear how the court would rule, however. California judges have traditionally been loath to interfere with the initiative process, preferring to wait until an issue becomes law.

But she adds: “If there is ever a case where a judge would throw something out, this is it.”

"Rep. Mike Honda’s granddaughter a transgender icon at 8"

Wonderful to speak with Carla Marinucci of the San Francisco Chronicle for this one. 

“Politicians make their families part of the political debate all the time ... but once you thrust the family into the public forum, they are fair game for the debate,” said law Professor Jessica Levinson, who teaches politics, ethics and privacy issues at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “And in this case, you’re thrusting an 8-year-old into the public debate at a really delicate time.”

Levinson said Honda deserves credit for publicly supporting his granddaughter, but she noted that in doing so, he has exposed her to a harsh limelight, possibly for years, at a time when she may be “really below the threshold for knowing consent.”

Oftentimes, “8-year-olds and 28-year-olds have different understandings of repercussions,” especially with regard to social media, Levinson said.

"Police Advocacy Group Leaves Few Fingerprints"

Great to talk with Rachel Baye for this piece in Time.

In down-ballot races like those for state supreme court, the secrecy of such nonprofits is particularly problematic, because the groups may be the only ones offering information about the candidates, according to Jessica Levinson, a Loyola Law School professor who specializes in election law.

“People typically aren’t as ill-informed about who’s running for president or governor or even secretary of state as they are about judicial races,” Levinson said. “A few well-placed radio or TV ads can make a big difference because that can be the only thing that people remember about the candidate.

"Learn An Entire Semester Of Campaign Finance Law In Less Than 4 Minutes"

Thanks to Huffington Post Live for having me on to discuss. 

Sunday, March 22, 2015

"Sen. Janet Nguyen’s misguided notion of banning bans"

My latest op-ed in the Sacramento Bee. 

Let’s talk about people who have served and continue to serve our country. Let’s talk about making sure that they have jobs, educations and health care. Let’s have a debate about how best to treat those Americans who risk their lives to keep us safe. Those are actual and important issues that need attention. The same is not true of the ability of a student council to vote for the removal of an American flag.

Read more here:

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

"Will the Supreme Court Allow Legislators to Dilute Voting Power?"

My latest op-ed is up on Pacific Standard Magazine. 

Here is an excerpt:

The substantive issue in the case essentially boils down to whether the word “legislature” can include the public when it exercises its power to enact laws via the initiative process and repeal laws via the referendum. Put another way, does the term “legislature” just refer to the group of elected lawmakers who sit in state capitols, or can it also include the people when they act like lawmakers? If it is the former, the ability of Arizona and likely California’s independent redistricting commissions to draw congressional district lines is, as the kids say, “so over.”

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Who will replace Senator Barbara Boxer? Who won in Los Angeles last week?

I will be on NBC's "News Conference" on Sunday at 7:45 a.m. talking about elections in Los Angeles and who is likely to replace Senator Barbara Boxer. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015


Good to talk to Lee Fang of the Intercept for this one.

“There is no doubt that outside organizations — PACs, Super PACs, etc. — wield enormous influence over both candidates and voters,” says Jessica Levinson, clinical professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. “Because money flows so freely throughout our political system, I think the important thing at this point is for there to be thorough transparency about who these lobbyists are, and the interests that they work for.”

"'Dismal' Doesn't Even Begin To Describe LA's Voter Turnout"

Thanks to Huffington Post Politics for picking up my quote in Alice Walton's Los Angeles Times article. 

“People may think about legalizing marijuana or other kinds of social issues on a regular basis, but whether or not we should link up city and state elections is something very few voters devote brain space to,” Loyola Law School professor Jessica Levinson told the Times.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Who Is Making All the Decisions in LA Elections?

Great to be on "Which Way, L.A." with Warren Olney here.

Election Roundup on Press Play

Always wonderful to speak with Madeleine Brand.

Here is a link to the show.

"Lack of hot-button issues fueled dismal voter turnout in L.A. election"

Great to talk with Alice Walton of the Los Angeles Times for this one.


In some parts of Los Angeles, the only items on voters’ ballots were candidates for the community college Board of Trustees and two charter amendments. The consolidation of elections wasn’t the kind of hot-button issue likely to draw in voters, said Jessica Levinson, a clinical professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.

“People may think about legalizing marijuana or other kinds of social issues on a regular basis but whether or not we should link up city and state elections is something very few voters devote brain space too,” she said.

Los Angeles is particularly challenging, according to Levinson. With about 250,000 constituents apiece, the council districts are too large for most voters to have face-to-face interactions with the candidates. Reaching those voters through slate mailers and radio or television ads can be prohibitively expensive.