Norman J. Ornstein (born October 14, 1948) is a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington D.C. conservative think tank. He was the co-writer (along with Thomas E. Mann) of It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism.
Norman Jay Ornstein was born in Grand Rapids, Minnesota on October 14, 1948. His father was a traveling salesman, and the family spent much of Norman's childhood in Canada. A child prodigy, Norman graduated from high school when he was only fourteen, and from college when he was just eighteen. He received his BA from the University of Minnesota, and subsequently received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Michigan in 1974. By the mid-1970s, he had become a professor of Political Science at Catholic University in Washington DC, and was already establishing a reputation as an expert on congress.
Ornstein studies American politics and is a frequent contributor to The Washington Post and many magazines, such as The Atlantic and the National Journal. He wrote a weekly column for Roll Call from 1993 until April 10, 2013, and is currently co-director, along with Thomas E. Mann, of the AEI-Brookings Election Reform Project. He helped draft key parts of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, also known as the McCain-Feingold Act. Ornstein considers himself a centrist.
Ornstein is a member of the Advisory Board of the Future of American Democracy Foundation, a non-profit, nonpartisan foundation in partnership with Yale University Press and the Yale Center for International and Area Studies "dedicated to research and education aimed at renewing and sustaining the historic vision of American democracy". He also serves on the Advisory Board of the Institute for Law and Politics at the University of Minnesota Law School. Ornstein is also a member of the Board of Directors of the nonpartisan election reform group Why Tuesday?. He is on the Board of Advisors of the cross-partisan grassroots campaign Represent.Us, where he served as a consultant in the crafting of the American Anti-Corruption Act.
Ornstein is married to Judith L. Harris, a litigation attorney specializing in regulatory matters. He is a long-time friend of U.S. Senator and left-leaning comedian Al Franken. A fictional version of Ornstein appears in Franken's political spoof novel Why Not Me? as the campaign manager for Franken's improbable presidential run.
Ornstein supports legally recognizing same-sex marriages.
- It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism
- St. Louis Park Historical Society biography of Norman Ornstein
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- Future of American Democracy Foundation website
- The Future of American Democracy Series
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- "The Dying Art of Legislating". New York Times. 1 March 2014. Retrieved 2 March 2014.
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- "About | Represent.Us". End corruption. Defend the Republic. Retrieved 2016-11-02.