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Michael Weingartner L’21 publishes article on how to remedy voter intimidation in The Georgetown Law Journal Online

January 25, 2022

Weingartner penned the piece for the Remedies seminar while at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School.

Michael Weingartner L’21 recently published “Remedying Intimidating Voter Disinformation Through § 1985(3)’s Support Or Advocacy ClausesThe Georgetown Law Journal Online. Weingartner originally wrote the paper for the Remedies seminar at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School taught by Adjunct Professor of Law, the Honorable Wendy Beetlestone L’93, District Judge for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania; Adjunct Professor of Law, the Honorable Stella Tsai L’88, Judge for the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas; and Lecturer in Law Shelley Smith.

“The seminar was unique in that it approached the topic of legal remedies from the practical viewpoint of parties and focused on the types of remedies that allowed for legal rights to be realized in practice,” said Weingartner. “That focus helped guide my idea for the paper, which addressed a widespread issue – voter intimidation – that too often goes unaddressed due to the lack of meaningful remedies for victims. Two of the most invoked federal voter intimidation statutes (section 11(b) of the Voting Rights Act and section 131(b) of the Civil Rights Act of 1957) provide victims with only injunctive relief and attorney’s fees, neither of which provide a real incentive for victims to bring suit after an election has already passed. Section 1985(3), on the other hand, provides for both compensatory and punitive damages, making it a much more promising vehicle to help make victims of voter intimidation whole and to deter bad actors.”

In Weingartner’s article, he argues that because Section 1985(3) “provides for compensatory and punitive damages along with several procedural advantages for victims of conspiracies to prevent voters from giving their ‘Support or Advocacy’ to federal candidates,” those bringing voter intimidation claims “should embrace the clauses as a potentially powerful weapon against modern-day voter intimidation.”

Weingartner credited the law school’s support in getting the article published.

“I never would have submitted the paper for publication were it not for the encouragement I received from my professors and the assistance of the library staff.” he said. “It meant a lot to me, as a recent graduate, to have that kind of support .

His strong interest in election law and voting rights was honed at the Law School in coursework, externships, and participation in student groups.

“I took Election Law with [Lecturer in Law] Jason Abel L’03 and a Voting Rights seminar with [Lecturer in Law] Deuel Ross L’09,” Weingartner said. “I also spent a semester externing for the Department of Justice in the Voting Rights section and a summer working with the Campaign Legal Center and was a member of the Democracy Law Project since I was a 1L. All of this helped shape my thinking about voting rights and voter suppression efforts, so I knew going into the Remedies seminar that I wanted to focus on this topic in a paper.”

Read the full article at The Georgetown Law Journal Online.