In the Green Room

Campaign Finance Expert Richard L. Hasen

The Law Professor Who Was Nearly a Law School Dropout

Richard L. Hasen

Campaign finance expert Richard L. Hasen is author of The Voting Wars: From Florida 2000 to the Next Election Meltdown, writer of the Election Law Blog, and a professor of law and political science at University of California, Irvine. Before participating in a panel on the cost of U.S. elections, he confessed in the Zócalo green room that before he became a law school professor, he was nearly a law school dropout—and that chocolate is his kryptonite.


Q:
What’s your favorite constellation?

A:
I’ll name Orion, but I have no idea. It’s the only one I know.

Q:
As a kid, what did you spend your allowance on?

A:
Comic books and baseball cards.

Q:
What do you wish you had the nerve to do?

A:
Ski like my wife does.

Q:
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?

A:
Write a lot, but don’t write crap.

Q:
If you could vote in another country besides the U.S., which would you choose?

A:
Any democracy that has nonpartisans running their elections.

Q:
Which country would be the most fun?

A:
Australia, because it’s fun to be in Australia.

Q:
What’s the last great book you read?

A:
It’s a book by five political scientists on how lobbying works: Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why. That’s kind of an odd thing to say, but it’s really a great book. I read a lot of books but few of them fit into the “great” category.

Q:
What’s your least favorite thing about blogging?

A:
It’s like having a fourth child. The blog always wants more, and during the election season it consumes every free waking moment.

Q:
What’s the hardest choice you’ve ever had to make?

A:
Whether to drop out of law school after three days.

Q:
Why did you want to drop out?

A:
I felt like it was going from being a colleague of professors to being in kindergarten. I vowed never to treat my law students like they were in kindergarten.

Q:
What dessert can’t you resist?

A:
Generally anything with chocolate—like a chocolate budino or a chocolate soufflé.