New York State Bar Association Task Force on the Presidential Election Maps Out Potential Constitutional Crisis Scenarios

By Susan DeSantis

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What if a state pivotal to the outcome of the presidential election is still counting the ballots on Dec. 14 when the Electoral College votes?

What if no candidate receives the 270 Electoral College votes needed to win the White House?

What if a winner has not been declared by Inauguration Day?

The New York State Bar Association Task Force on the Presidential Election issued a report  explaining the constitutional procedures involved in electing a president – and offering a roadmap for journalists, policymakers and members of the public to understand the process.

“At this important moment in our collective history – two weeks before a contentious election in the midst of a global pandemic and deep economic uncertainty – our esteemed task force of scholars led by veteran election lawyer Jerry H. Goldfeder has produced an authoritative report that is must reading for all Americans,” said Scott M. Karson, president of NYSBA. “After all, it is adherence to the Rule of Law that makes the difference between living in a democratic society and one governed by military might.”

“Americans have successfully conducted 58 presidential elections and are hopeful that our 59th will be fair and smoothly run,” said Goldfeder who has practiced election law for forty years and is special counsel at Stroock & Stroock & Lavan LLP. “This report, written by some of the best and most expert election scholars in the country, will enable the public to understand the complex procedures as to how our system really works.”

To read the full report, go to www.nysba.org/presidentialelectionreport.

Goldfeder, who teaches Election Law at Fordham Law School where he twice has been voted adjunct professor of the year, is the chair of the task force. Members of the panel are:

  • Ava Ayers, director of the Government Law Center at Albany Law School, who teaches classes in administrative law, law of government and professional responsibility.
  • Wilfred U. Codrington III, a constitutional law scholar with a focus on constitutional reform, election law and voting rights. He is an assistant professor of law at Brooklyn Law School and is a fellow at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law.
  • James A. Gardner, a SUNY distinguished professor, Bridget and Thomas Black professor and a research professor of political science at the University at Buffalo School of Law. His research focuses on election law, federalism and Democratic theory.
  • John “Jack” Hardin Young was on the Democratic National Committee team that handled the Florida recount during the 2000 election and Bush v. Gore. Young, of counsel to Sandler Reiff, is an adjunct professor of comparative election law at William & Mary Law School.
  • Deborah Pearlstein, professor of law and co-director of the Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy at Cardozo Law, specializes in constitutional law, international law, and U.S. national security law.
  • Richard H. Pildes, one of the nation’s leading scholars of constitutional law and a specialist in issues facing democracy, is the Sudler Family professor of constitutional law at NYU School of Law.
  • Jed Shugerman, a professor at Fordham University School of Law, is the author of a book that traces the rise of judicial elections, judicial review, and the influence of money and parties in American courts.

About the New York State Bar Association
The New York State Bar Association is the largest voluntary state bar association in the nation. Since 1876, NYSBA has helped shape the development of law, educated and informed the legal profession and the public, and championed the rights of New Yorkers through advocacy and guidance in our communities.

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Contact: Susan DeSantis
[email protected]
201-575-5756

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