Want to Buy an Election? Consult Alumnus Andrew Arons
Earlier this year, the Hogan/Smoger Access to Justice Essay Contest prompted a discussion of the seminal campaign-finance case Citizens United v. FEC asking, “Is Democracy for Sale?” Andrew Arons ’13 provided the most innovative answer, and he was chosen as the winner of this historic competition. Loyola students have won other major competitions, including one by the GRAMMY Foundation.
Arons’ essay, “Citizens United v. FEC: The Straightjacket on Campaign Finance Reform,” offered a unique solution to the issues that arose from the controversial case, which effectively held that it was unconstitutional to prohibit the election-related communications by corporations, associations and unions. Arons saw the answer through disclosure by creating a multifactor test that the FEC could apply to expose the source donor to the public. “That’s the person who is relevant; that’s the person whose ideals and values are expressed by the candidate,” he said.
Arons suggests that legislation could disqualify all members of the House who are beholden to special interests from voting. He also presents the issue that the FEC isn’t applying its own rules and it gets deadlocked due to a partisan panel.
He had a solid foundation on the topic from an Election Law course he took with Assistant Clinical Professor Jessica Levinson. “The casebook we used in the class gave me hints, but I still needed to do quite a bit of research to find lower courts and law review articles that were following the same logic,” he said. Professor Levinson advised Arons every step of the way and dedicated time to discuss the issues and brainstorm solutions. “Professor Levinson has got a full plate; it was amazing for her to take on this project. She spends so much time outside of class helping her students with papers, course schedules and their career goals,” he said.
Arons’ position on the Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review also prepared him for legal citation and presenting an opinion in an attention-grabbing way. “Law review taught me that an interesting paper doesn’t only analyze what’s going on, but you also have to think outside the box. So I reformulated an idea that Associate Professor Justin Levitt had and put a new spin on it,” he said.
Currently, Arons is clerking for a magistrate judge in Los Angeles. He was sworn into the California and federal bars in early December 2013. He has accepted a position with O’Melveny & Myers LLP.