What excites you most about joining the UCI Law faculty?
There's a real sense of excitement here at UCI Law. You get the feeling that everyone is working together to create an exceptional law school--from the dean, to the faculty and staff, to the students. All is new and nothing is off the table. It is liberating (and a bit terrifying). There's a chance to build something new and different here.
What is your teaching style?
I have two different teaching styles. In a first-year course, I see myself as akin to a foreign language instructor. Law is a like a foreign language, and the first year is one of immersion in the new language. Of course, the best way to learn a foreign language is to practice it out loud, which is why I try to make a first-year class as participatory as possible. Public speaking is also an important legal skill, and so calling on students is a way to get them thinking on their feet, as they will eventually have to do before a judge, boss, or client.
In my more advanced courses, students already speak the language of law and we can focus on some interesting theoretical and practical questions. My goal is to prepare students to go out into the world and provide excellent legal advice and service for their clients. But I also want them to do so after taking into account the larger context - both the kinds of theoretical arguments that animate how we choose our laws, and the moral and ethical implications of the choices we make.
Describe your scholarship.
Most of my scholarship is at the intersection of law and politics, especially in the fields of Election Law and statutory interpretation. I write about issues such as campaign financing, election administration (such as voter identification laws), redistricting, the initiative process, and statutory interpretation. The field of Election Law was a very small field before the dispute over the 2000 Presidential election in Florida, culminating in the United States Supreme Court's controversial decision in Bush v. Gore. Now the field is much larger, and most of the major law schools offer Election Law courses. I have been very active in helping to develop the field, including through co-authoring a casebook, serving for nine years as founding co-Editor of the Election Law Journal, writing since 2003 for my Election Law Blog (now with over 19,000 posts), and co-managing listservs in Election Law and Legislation.