Levinson, Jessica

Jessica A. Levinson

Clinical Professor of Law

Jessica A. Levinson, Clinical Professor of Law

Courses Taught

  • Law and Process: Privacy Torts
  • Campaign Finance Seminar
  • Money, Politics and the Supreme Court 



  • BA, magna cum laude, valedictorian, Loyola Marymount University
  • JD, cum laude, Order of the Coif, Loyola Law School 


Jessica Levinson’s work focuses on election law and governance issues, including campaign finance, ethics, ballot initiatives, redistricting, term limits and state budgets. 

Levinson currently serves as the President of the Los Angeles Ethics Commission. She was appointed by the Los Angeles City Controller in 2013 to serve a five-year term. 

She regularly appears as an election law and governance expert on the television and the radio, including programs aired on NBC, CBS, ABC, Fox News, Fox Business Channel, NPR, KNX and KPFK. She is also frequently quoted in the print media, including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Associated Press, Los Angeles Times, Sacramento Bee, San Francisco Chronicle and Reuters.

Levinson has presented papers and given lectures at the University of California at Los Angeles, the University of California at Los Angeles Law School, the University of California at Berkeley, the University of San Francisco School of Law, the University of California Hastings College of Law, Scripps College and California State Fullerton.

While in law school, Levinson was the Senior Articles Editor of the Loyola of Los Angeles International and Comparative Law Review. Following graduation, Levinson served as a law clerk to the Honorable James V. Selna from 2005-06. She then practiced with the law firm of Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP. Professor Levinson began teaching as an Adjunct Professor at Loyola in 2009. From 2008-11, Levinson served as the Director of Political Reform at the Center for Governmental Studies.

Selected Scholarship 

(The papers listed below can be found here). 

  • "The Original Sin of Campaign Finance Law: Why Buckley v. Valeo is Wrong," 47 University of Richmond Law Review 881 (2013). 
  • "We the Corporations? The Constitutionality of Limitations on Corporate Electoral Speech After Citizens United," 46 U.S.F. L. Rev. 307 (2011) .
  • "Timing Is Everything: A New Model for Countering Corruption Without Silencing Speech in Elections," 55 St. Louis U. L.J. 853 (2011).
  • "Is the Party Over? The Open Primary Process,44 Loy. L. Rev. 461 (2011).
  • "Amicus Curiae Brief for the Center for Governmental Studies in Support of Respondents," in Arizona Free Enterprise Club's Freedom PAC v. Bennet, Nos. 10-238 and 10-239 (lead author, filed February 2011).
  • "Ballot Box Budgeting in California: The Bane of the Golden State or an Overstated Problem?" (co-author with Bob Stern), 37 Hastings Const. L.Q. 101 (publication in Spring 2010).
  • "Bite Your Tongue in Europe: The European Court of Human Rights Strikes a Blow to the Freedom of Expression," 26 Loy. L.A. Int'l& Comp. L. Rev. 483 (2004).

In the News

  • Op-ed articles, including those appearing in Politico, the Sacramento Bee, the Los Angeles Daily News, Jurist, Pacific Standard, Zocalo, the Los Angeles Daily Journal and other publications can be found at PoLawTics.lls.edu
  • Articles appearing in the Huffington Post can be found here.
  • Articles appearing on KCET.org can be found here

Representative Academic Presentations

  • The Implications of Citizens United, hosted by the Bench and Bar Conference, January 26, 2013. 
  • Political Governance in California, hosted by the National Council of Jewish Women, December 5, 2012. 
  • Money Out, Voters In, hosted by the UCLA School of Law, November 17, 2012. 
  • The 2012 Elections, hosted by the Junior League of Los Angeles, October 18, 2012. 
  • Constitution Day Conference, hosted by the Constitution Rights Foundation, September 28, 2012. 
  • Southern California Junior Faculty Workshop, September 22, 2012.  
  • "Press for Democracy," June 23, 2012.
  • "The Journalist Law School," hosted by Loyola Law School, June 1, 2012.
  • Political Issues in Los Angeles, hosted by the U.S. Jaycees, May 22, 2012.  
  • "Press for Democracy," April 28, 2012. 
  • Supreme Court Ethics, hosted by American Judicature Society, March 19, 2012. 
  • "The Point," January 18, 2012. 
  • "The Consequences of Redistricting," hosted by the Santa Monica Democratic Club, November 30, 2011.
  • "Presidential Politics," hosted by the Unruh Institute of Politics at the University of Southern California, October 19, 2011.
  • "What is the state of public campaign financing law?," hosted by California Common Cause, August 15, 2011. 
  • "Can Redistricting Improve California?," hosted by Zocalo Public Square, June 15, 2011.  
  • "The State of the State,” hosted by the League of Women Voters of Orange County, April 23, 2011.
  • "Democracy, Inc? Citizens United, Corporate Expenditures & the Future of Campaign Finance Law,” University of San Francisco School of Law, Law Review Symposium, February 25, 2011.
  • "Election 2010 Post-Mortem,” hosted by the League of Women Voters of Pasadena, November 4, 2010.
  • "Democracy For Sale: How to Make Elections about Candidates and Issues,” hosted by the UCLA Hammer Museum, October 12, 2010.
  • "Rebooting California: Initiatives, Conventions & Government Reform,” Loyola of Los Angeles Law School, Law Review Symposium, September 24, 2010.
  • "California Student Democracy Training,” hosted by Democracy Matters and Common Cause, July 24, 2010.
  • "Explaining Citizens United and the California Ballot Initiative Process,” hosted by the Westchester Democratic Club, June 17, 2010.
  • "Proposition 15: The California Fair Elections Act,” hosted by the League of Women Voters and California Common Cause, May 20, 2010.
  • "Untangling Citizens United: The Future of Campaign Finance Reform,” hosted by California Common Cause and the Center for Governmental Studies, May 7, 2010.
  • "Waking from the California Dream: The Past, Present, and Future of California's Fiscal Constitution,” University of California Hastings College of Law, Constitutional Law Quarterly Symposium, February 25, 2010.
  • "Exploring Political Corruption,” hosted by The Press Enterprise, February 8, 2010.
  • "Constitutional Reform, Term Limits and Overturning the Two Thirds Majority Required to Pass a State Budget,” hosted by the League of Women Voters, December 11, 2009.
  • "Transparency, Accountability and the Growing Role of ‘Governmental’ Non-Profits,” hosted by the Council of Governmental Ethics Laws, December 9, 2009.
  • "Recovery and Reform: The State Budget, the Federal Stimulus, and How Los Angeles Public Interest Lawyers Can Lead the Movement For Change,” hosted by the Public Interest Law Journal, October 23, 2009.
  • "Secrets in a Democracy: Constitution Café 5: Whose First Amendment?,” hosted by Scripps College, October 8, 2009.
  • "Is California Governable?” hosted by California State University, Fullerton, September 17, 2009.