Other Group

Safeguarding Democracy Project

Website:

law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/safeguarding-democracy-project

Location:

Los Angeles, CA

Project of:

University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA)

Type:

Academic

Founded:

2022

Director:

Richard L. Hasen

The Safeguarding Democracy Project is a project of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Law School founded by Richard L. Hasen, a prominent election law professor who has criticized voter identification laws and accused Republicans of using the COVID-19 pandemic to keep Democratic voters from voting. In its mission statement, the project claims that Republicans who questioned the legitimacy of the 2020 election were acting in bad faith and that election integrity laws passed after the 2020 election “make it harder for some eligible voters to register and to vote,” threatening “the cornerstone of American democracy.”

Background

The launch of the Safeguarding Democracy Project was formally announced on the UCLA Law school’s blog on July 11, 2022, in the format of an interview with the project’s founder, Richard L. Hasen, who the interviewer notes had just joined the school’s faculty earlier that month. According to the post, the project’s inaugural advisory board includes several prominent Democratic lawyers and Republicans who opposed the Trump administration, such as J. Michael Luttig, a former judge on the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals; Bob Bauer, former White House counsel to the Obama administration; and Sarah Longwell, publisher at the Bulwark. [1] [2]

Activities

The Safeguarding Democracy Project performs a variety of functions to promote its agenda, such as filing legal briefs, writing research reports, and holding conferences. [3] For instance, the project plans to host an event on September 20, 2022, discussing “the Supreme Court’s role in preserving American democracy” as well as “a scholarly roundtable” on the independent state legislature doctrine, a legal notion that state legislatures have ultimate authority in regulating elections in their states, which project director Richard L. Hasen opposes. [4] [5]

Additionally, since the project’s launch, the organization has uploaded to YouTube a variety of videos featuring academics in discussion with Hasen over webcam, typically focused on an alarmist question aligned with the project’s agenda. For instance, “What Can and Should Journalists Do to Prevent Election Subversion and Another January 6?” as well as “Is the US. Constitution Up to the Task of Preserving American Democracy?” [6]

Richard L. Hasen

Richard L. Hasen is the director of the Safeguarding Democracy Project and a professor of law at the University of California, Los Angeles. Initially, at the start of his legal career after graduating from law school, Hasen clerked with David R. Thompson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, and immediately thereafter worked in civil appellate law at Horvitz and Levy. From 1994 to1997, Hasen taught at the Chicago-Kent College of Law and from 1998 to 2011, taught at Loyola Law School, Los Angeles. During this period, starting in 2001 and for a decade thereafter, Hasen, along with Dan Lowenstein, founded and coedited a quarterly law journal, Election Law Journal. [7]

In 2009, Hasen was elected to The American Law Institute, a Philadelphia-based nonprofit that seeks to promote the simplification of U.S. common law, and there serves as reporter along with legal academic Douglas Laycock at the institute’s Restatement (Third) of Torts: Remedies, a law reform project. Later, from 2011 to 2022, Hasen was made chancellor’s professor of Law and Political Science at the University of California, Irvine and co-director of its Fair Elections and Free Speech Center. During that time, in 2020, Hasen was briefly an analyst on CNN. [8]

References

  1. “Hasen Launches Effort to Protect Integrity of Elections.” UCLA: Law. July 11, 2022.  Accessed July 25, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/news/hasen-launches-effort-protect-integrity-elections ^
  2. “Safeguarding Democracy Project.” UCLA School of Law. Accessed August 26, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/safeguarding-democracy-project. ^
  3. Safeguarding Democracy Project. UCLA: Law. Accessed July 25, 2022.

    https://law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/safeguarding-democracy-project. ^

  4. “Events.” Safeguarding Democracy Project. UCLA: Law. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/safeguarding-democracy-project. ^
  5. Montellaro, Zach. “GOP pushes for an ‘earthquake in American electoral power.’” Politico. March 9, 2022. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://www.politico.com/news/2022/03/09/gop-pushes-for-an-earthquake-in-american-electoral-power-00015402. ^
  6. “Videos.” Safeguarding Democracy Project. UCLA: Law. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/academics/centers/safeguarding-democracy-project. ^
  7. “Richard L. Hasen.” UCLA: Law. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/richard-l-hasen ^
  8. “Richard L. Hasen.” UCLA: Law. Accessed July 25, 2022. https://law.ucla.edu/faculty/faculty-profiles/richard-l-hasen ^
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Safeguarding Democracy Project


Los Angeles, CA