Academic Year 2010-2011
Michael Pollack graduated from Swarthmore College in 2008 with Highest Honors, having majored in political science and minored in economics. During his time at Swarthmore, he had the incredible opportunity to intern at the State Department's Office of Nordic and Baltic Affairs in Washington, DC. Now a rising third-year law student at NYU and a Furman Scholar, he has previously worked for the New York City Council's Office of the General Counsel, the Department of Justice's Civil Appellate staff, the Washington, DC office of Jenner& Block, and also as a Research Assistant for Professor Barry Friedman at NYU Law. After law school, he hopes to have the opportunity to clerk for a federal judge and then work either with a law firm or with the federal government in some capacity before eventually returning to law school as a professor, teaching and researching “governance law” and the role of courts in governance.
Constitutional Structure and Voice
(Mentored by Professor Perry Dane, Tikvah Fellow)
As my legal interests are situated in the separation of powers and government structure, I am particularly interested by the draft constitutions for the State of Israel that we are presently discussing in the Tikvah Scholars Forum. In particular, I am intrigued by the radical, but perhaps subtle, differences in parliamentary voting structures proposed by the various think tanks and interest groups. Specifically, the “Adalah” Arab proposal contains a much stronger minority veto than do the proposals from the Jewish groups—which, moving in the other direction, contain strong supermajoritarian requirements with respect to certain core identitarian provisions.
Obviously, these differences represent the divergent interests of the two demographic groups. Because of that, they may be some of the most intractable of all of the “nuts and bolts” provisions of the Constitution. I would like, therefore, to do three things. First, I will canvass a wider variety of proposals and simply get a larger sample of the representational and voting structures that are being discussed. Second, I will look at Jewish and Islamic legal texts as well as constitutions of similarly diverse states in an attempt to draw out lessons regarding the treatment of minorities in a community. Finally, with all of this in mind, I will consider if I can suggest a structure that may balance the demands of the two communities or, at the very least, how I can flesh out the issue and bring other legal texts to bear on its resolution.