About USC Gould
USC Gould is a top-ranked law school with a 120-year history and reputation for academic excellence. We are located on the beautiful 228-acre USC University Park Campus, just south of downtown Los Angeles.
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USC Gould School of Law
- FACULTY DIRECTORY
- LECTURERS IN LAW DIRECTORY
- EXPERTS DIRECTORY
- FACULTY IN THE NEWS
- SCHOLARSHIP AND PUBLICATIONS
- DISTINCTIONS AND AWARDS
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Franita Tolson is Vice Dean for Faculty and Academic Affairs and Professor of Law at University of Southern California Gould School of Law. She also holds a courtesy faculty appointment in the Political Science and International Relations Department at the USC Dornsife College of Letter, Arts and Sciences.
Her scholarship and teaching focus on the areas of election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. She has written on a wide range of topics including partisan gerrymandering, political parties, the Elections Clause, the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments. Her research has appeared in leading law reviews including the Yale Law Journal, University of Pennsylvania Law Review, Vanderbilt Law Review and Boston University Law Review. Her forthcoming book, In Congress We Trust?: Enforcing Voting Rights from the Founding to the Jim Crow Era, will be published in 2021 by Cambridge University Press.
As a nationally recognized expert in election law, Vice Dean Tolson has written for or appeared as a commentator for various mass media outlets including The New York Times, Reuters and Bloomberg Law. She has testified before the House Judiciary Committee regarding the reauthorization of the Voting Rights Act. She has also authored a legal analysis for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution, introduced by Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Richard Durbin, that would explicitly protect the right to vote. Vice Dean Tolson currently works as an election law analyst for CNN and co-hosts an election themed podcast, Free and Fair with Franita and Foley, with Ned Foley of The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.
Prior to joining USC, Vice Dean Tolson was the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law and a visiting assistant professor at Northwestern University School of Law. Before entering academia, she clerked for the Honorable Ann Claire Williams of the United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and the Honorable Ruben Castillo of the Northern District of Illinois.
Vice Dean Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she will be a Visiting Professor of Law during the Spring 2021 academic quarter.
Works in Progress
- Reinventing Federalism?: The Status of Madison’s Constitution after the Reconstruction Amendments
- The Legislative Record
- De Minimis Constitutional Violations
- In Congress We Trust?: Enforcing Voting Rights from the Founding to the Jim Crow Era, (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming 2021).
Articles and Book Chapters
- "The Spectrum of Congressional Authority over Elections," Boston University Law Review 99 (2019) 317. - (Hein) - (SSRN)
- "Election Law “Federalism” and the Limits of the Antidiscrimination Framework," William & Mary Law Review 59 (2018) 2211. - (Hein) - (SSRN)
- “The Equal Sovereignty Principle as Federalism Sub-Doctrine: A Reassessment of Shelby County v. Holder,” in Controversies in American Federalism and Public Policy, edited by Christopher P. Banks, 171-186 (Routledge, 2018).
- “Offering a New Vision for Equal Protection: The Story of Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections,” in Election Law Stories, edited by Joshua A. Douglas and Eugene D. Mazo, 63-86 (Foundation Press, 2016).
- “What is Abridgment? A Critique of Two Section Twos.” Alabama Law Review 67 (2016): 433. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Introduction: The Law of Democracy at a Crossroads: Reflecting on Fifty Years of Voting Rights and the Judicial Regulation of the Political Thicket.” Florida State University Law Review 43 (2016): 345. - (Hein) - (www)
- “The Federalism Implications of Campaign Finance Regulation.” University of Pennsylvania Law Review Online 164 (2016): 247. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Protecting Political Participation through the Voter Qualifications Clause of Article I.” Boston College Law Review 56 (2015): 159. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights After Shelby County and Arizona Inter Tribal.” Election Law Journal 13 (2014): 322. - (SSRN) - (www)
- “The Constitutional Structure of Voting Rights Enforcement.” Washington Law Review 89 (2014): 379. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “The Union as a Safeguard Against Faction: Congressional Gridlock as State Empowerment.” Notre Dame Law Review 88 (2013): 2267. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Second-Order Diverse in Name Only?: Sovereign Authority in Disaggregated Institutions.” Tulsa Law Review 48 (2013) 455. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Benign Partisanship.” Notre Dame Law Review 88 (2012): 395. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Reinventing Sovereignty?: Federalism as a Constraint on the Voting Rights Act.” Vanderbilt Law Review 65 (2012): 1195. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Partisan Gerrymandering as a Safeguard of Federalism.” Utah Law Review 2010 (2010): 859. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “The Boundaries of Litigating Unconscious Discrimination: Firm-Based Remedies in Response to a Hostile Judiciary.” Delaware Journal of Corporate Law 33 (2008): 347. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
- “Increasing the Quantity and the Quality of the African-American Vote: Lessons for 2008 and Beyond.” Berkeley Journal of African-American Law & Policy 10 (2008): 313. - (SSRN) - (Hein)
FACULTY IN THE NEWS
Franita Tolson was mentioned as a participant in a Senate hearing on voting rights. "Apologies Mr. Cruz, your state of Texas, perhaps," she said, when Cruz asked which voter ID laws are racist. "The fact that the voter ID law was put into place to diminish the political power of Latinos with racist intent." Tolson was also quoted in The Washington Post, USA TODAY, Independant, The Hill and Yahoo! News.
Thomas D. Lyon
“Use of global trait cues helps to explain older adults’ decrements in detecting children’s lies” (with Alison O’Connor, Micaela Wiens, & Angela D. Evans) (in press), Legal and Criminological Psychology.
Thomas D. Lyon
“Causal indicators for assessing the truthfulness of child speech in forensic interviews” (with Zane Durante, Victor Ardulov, Manoj Kumar, Jennifer Gongola, & Shrikanth Narayanan) (in press), Computer Speech & Language.
Thomas D. Lyon
“The difficulty of teaching adults to recognize referential ambiguity in children's testimony: The influence of explicit instruction and sample questions” (with Breanne Wylie, Jennifer Gongola, & Angela D. Evans) (in press), Applied Cognitive Psychology.