Briefing Room


College to host Order of the Coif lecture, election law expert

October 4, 2012 | Events

The progressive case for federalism will be made in a lecture given Oct. 17 by Heather Gerken, the J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law at Yale Law School, at The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

Gerken’s talk, “Not Your Father’s Federalism,” is part of the 2012 Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor Program and will take place at 12:10 p.m. Oct. 17 in the William B. Saxbe Law Auditorium in Drinko Hall. The free lecture is open to the public, and interested attendees should register here. For those who cannot attend in person, the lecture will be webcast live at

An expert in constitutional law, election law, and civil procedure, Gerken is one of the nation’s leading experts on voting rights, the role of groups in the democratic process, and the relationships between diversity and democracy. She has written extensively on campaign finance, lobbying, districting, and election administration.

Her proposal that Congress establish a “Democracy Index” – a national ranking system of state election performance – has been incorporated into bills by then-Sens. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama and New York Rep. Steve Israel. It has been the subject of several conferences and her new book, The Democracy Index: Why Our Election System is Failing and How to Fix It.

This is the first time the Order of the Coif Distinguished Visitor Program has come to Moritz. Formerly known as the Annual Lecture Series, the honor society selects each year authorities in legal specialties to visit law schools with established Coif chapters. The Distinguished Visitor spends two days participating in classroom lectures, meeting with faculty and student groups, and delivering an address to stimulate discussion about important issues confronting the legal profession.