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Norman J. Ornstein is a political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), a Washington D.C. think tank. His books include It's Even Worse Than It Looks: How the American Constitutional System Collided With the New Politics of Extremism, co-written with Thomas E. Mann.
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 has written a weekly column for Roll Call since 1993, 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?.
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.