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College of Law

Florida State University




Franita Tolson

Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights

Florida State University
College of Law
Roberts Hall, Room 323
Phone: 850.644.7402
Fax: 850.644.0576


J.D., University of Chicago, 2005
B.A./B.S. (History), cum laude, Truman State University, 2001

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Franita Tolson is the Betty T. Ferguson Professor of Voting Rights at Florida State University College of Law. Professor Tolson’s scholarship and teaching focus on the areas of election law, constitutional law, legal history and employment discrimination. Recently, she has written on the federalism implications of partisan gerrymandering and the Voting Rights Act of 1965. Her research has been published in leading law reviews, and she has written or appeared as a commentator for various mass media outlets. Professor Tolson is a blogger for The Huffington Post.

Prior to joining Florida State, Professor Tolson was 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. Professor Tolson is a graduate of the University of Chicago Law School, where she was a member of the University of Chicago Law Review and won the Thomas Mulroy Prize for Oral Advocacy in the Hinton Moot Court Competition.

Select Recent Publications

Offering A New Vision for Equal Protection: The Story of Harper v. Virginia State Board of Elections, in Election Law Stories (Foundation Press) (forthcoming 2015)

What is Abridgment? A Critique of Two Section Twos, 66 Ala. L. Rev. __ (forthcoming 2015)

Protecting Political Participation through the Voter Qualifications Clause of Article I, 56 B.C. L. Rev. 159 (2015)

The Constitutional Structure of Voting Rights Enforcement, 89 Wash. L. Rev. 379 (2014)

Congressional Authority to Protect Voting Rights after Shelby County and Arizona Inter Tribal, 13 Election L.J. 322 (2014)

Second Order Diverse in Name Only? Sovereign Authority in Disaggregated Institutions, 48 Tulsa L. Rev. 455 (2013)

The Union as a Safeguard Against Faction: Congressional Gridlock as State Empowerment, 88 Notre Dame L. Rev. 2267 (2013)

Benign Partisanship, 88 Notre Dame L. Rev. 395 (2012)

Reinventing Sovereignty?: Federalism as a Constraint on the Voting Rights Act, 65 Vand. L. Rev. 1195 (2012)