Marquette University News Release

Election rights expert Heather Gerken to address “dark money” and the future of political parties in Marquette Law School’s Boden Lecture

October 1, 2013

Event Information:
Date: Monday, Oct. 7, 2013
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Place: Marquette Law School, Eckstein Hall

Heather Gerken, Yale Law School’s J. Skelly Wright Professor of Law, will present “Dark Money and the Future of Political Parties: The Real Problem with Citizens United” for Marquette Law School’s Boden Lecture on Monday, Oct. 7, at 4:30 p.m. in Eckstein Hall, 1215 W. Michigan St.

Few cases have generated as much controversy as Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, decided by the Supreme Court in 2010. The story often told by reformers and reporters is that Citizens United ushered in a new era of dark money, with wealthy corporations spending wildly, saturating the airwaves and taking over American politics. Most of that story is wrong, and some of it is nonsense, Professor Gerken will maintain: There is a bigger story about the relationship between Citizens United and American politics; it’s just not the one we’ve been told.

More specifically, Professor Gerken will argue that the “dark money” trend is a symptom of a deeper shift taking place in American politics, as we move from the political parties we know toward what she calls “shadow parties.” For all the brouhaha over dark money, we may one day think that the bigger and more important problem to emerge from the 2012 election is the shadow party.

Professor Gerken is a leading expert on voting rights and election law, the role of groups in the democratic process, and the relationship between diversity and democracy. Professor Gerken graduated summa cum laude from Princeton University and from the University of Michigan Law School.

She then served as a law clerk for Judge Stephen Reinhardt of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and for Justice David H. Souter of the U.S. Supreme Court. Before joining the Yale faculty, Gerken practiced law in Washington, D.C., and taught at Harvard Law School.

The event is at capacity. Members of the general public can sign up for a waiting list for admission here. Media members interested in attending should contact Chris Jenkins in the Office of Marketing and Communication at (414) 288-4745 or

This annual lecture remembers the late Robert F. Boden, who served as dean of Marquette University Law School from 1965 to 1984.


About Chris Jenkins

Chris Jenkins

Chris is the Associate Director of University Communication in the Office of Marketing and Communication. Contact Chris at (414) 288-4745 or View all posts by .