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Legal Astroturfing

Cheung, Alvin, Legal Astroturfing (November 17, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

“This Article identifies the phenomenon of legal astroturfing and considers it in relation to other aspects of “democratic backsliding” and contemporary authoritarianism. In particular, I argue that legal astroturfing is especially pernicious not because it is illiberal or anti-democratic (although it is certainly both of these), but because it involves two layers of deception by the regime: legal astroturfing can obfuscate both what is being done, as well as who is doing it. I further argue that this deceptive element of legal astroturfing makes the tactic not merely illiberal or anti-democratic, but anti-legal.”

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