The American Law Institute Launches Restatement of the Law, Election Litigation

The American Law Institute Launches Restatement of the Law, Election Litigation

PHILADELPHIA — The American Law Institute’s Council voted today to approve the launch of a Restatement of the Law project on Election Litigation. The project will be led by Reporters Lisa Manheim of the University of Washington School of Law and Derek T. Muller of Notre Dame Law School.

The Restatement’s goal is to provide guidance to federal and state court judges adjudicating election disputes, focusing on the areas governed by equitable principles and guided by judicial common law. Topics will include the “Purcell Principle” on timing of judicial intervention, the preservation of pre-established conditions for election conduct, the roles of state and federal courts in election disputes, administrative flexibility for emergencies, remedies for failed elections, and claims over exclusion of parties from the ballot and lack of voter access. The Restatement will not address broader questions bearing on the substance of election law.

“This is the ideal time for The American Law Institute to launch a Restatement project on election litigation,” said ALI Deputy Director Eleanor Barrett. “This Restatement follows two other significant ALI efforts in the area of election law: the completed Principles of the Law, Election Administration: Non-Precinct Voting and Resolution of Ballot-Counting Disputes, and our recent convening of a bipartisan group that issued general principles for reform of the Electoral Count Act (ECA) that were influential in the passing of the ECA reforms found within the 2022 omnibus spending package. The Restatement’s guidance will provide a valuable resource for judges handling emergency election disputes, and we are excited to continue our work in this important area of law.”

ALI’s Restatements of the Law are primarily addressed to courts. They aim to provide clear formulations of common law and its statutory elements and reflect the law as it presently stands or might appropriately be stated by a court. Although Restatements aspire toward the precision of statutory language, they also are intended to reflect the flexibility and capacity for development and growth of the common law. That is why they are phrased in the descriptive terms of a judge announcing the law to be applied in a given case rather than in the mandatory terms of a statute.

The Institute and Reporters will now identify Associate Reporters and Advisers to the project.


Brief Biographies of the Reporters:

Lisa Manheim writes in the areas of constitutional law, election law, and presidential powers. Her scholarship has been published in the University of Chicago Law Review, the Supreme Court Review, the Vanderbilt Law Review, and other leading academic journals. These works explore questions of federalism and institutionalism in the context of the three branches of the federal government. Professor Manheim’s courses include Administrative Law, Constitutional Law, Election Law, Federal Courts, Legislation, and Property.

After graduating from law school, Professor Manheim clerked for Judge Pierre N. Leval of the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit and Justice Anthony M. Kennedy of the Supreme Court of the United States. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Washington, Professor Manheim worked as an associate at Perkins Coie LLP, where she specialized in appellate practice, commercial litigation, and political law.

Derek T. Muller is a nationally-recognized scholar in the field of election law. His research focuses on the role of states in the administration of federal elections, the constitutional contours of voting rights and election administration, the limits of judicial power in the domain of elections, and the Electoral College.

He has published more than two dozen academic works, and his op-eds have appeared in The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, and The Wall Street Journal. He has testified before Congress, he is a contributor at the Election Law Blog, and he is a co-author on a Federal Courts casebook published by Carolina Academic Press. 

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About The American Law Institute

The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education.

By participating in the Institute’s work, its distinguished members have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas, to work with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics, to give back to a profession to which they are deeply dedicated, and to contribute to the public good.

For more information about The American Law Institute, visit