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This collection on American democracy challenges and complements blog posts and opinion pieces that are typical staples of the 24/7 news cycle in the lead up to US elections. You'll find reports about election and campaign administration, voting access and participation, government performance and perceptions, the role of the media in civil society, and more.

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"VOTE!" by Paul Sableman licensed under CC BY 2.0

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Revisiting Standing Doctrine: Recent Developments, Policy Concerns, and Possible Solutions

September 29, 2022

Obscure legal doctrines rarely go viral. But that's exactly what happened on December 12, 2020,when then-President Donald J. Trump took to Twitter to complain about his treatment at the hands of the federal judiciary."The Supreme Court had ZERO interest in the merits of the greatest voter fraud ever perpetrated on the United States of America[,]" Trump wrote, reacting to a recent decision by the nation's highest court that declined to hear a challenge to the 2020 election results brought by his political allies in the Texas state government. "All they were interested in is 'standing', which makes it very difficult for the President to present a case on the merits. 75,000,000 votes!"┬áMore than 274,000 Twitter users "liked" Trump's message. Few of them seem likely to have realized that the argument Trump was making echoed complaints that progressives have been putting forward for decades.The word at the center of Trump's tirade—standing—is shorthand for a complex and contested legal doctrine that plays a central role in determining who has access to federal courts and for what purposes. Rooted in a particular understanding of the Constitution, its contours have built up through the uneven accumulation of judicial precedent over the past several decades, resulting in a complicated set of rules that are often beyond even Congress' ability to supersede or amend.