Jul 1, 2022

Should States Take Control of Election Rules? Supreme Court Will Decide

With election integrity at the top of the public's mind, the case will be heard next term.
Should States Take Control of Election Rules? Supreme Court Will Decide

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After wrapping up this season of rulings, the Supreme Court announced they’ll hear a case about a controversial legal theory next term.

What is independent state legislature theory? It’s a constitutional theory that argues that state legislatures should have full authority to set procedures for federal elections within each state and that the courts don’t have much say.

It would affect redistricting and elections. Thirty state legislatures are currently led by Republicans, meaning that the GOP legislators could promote election integrity measures and ensure orderly elections in most states. Critics on the Left claim that legislature-run elections could rig districting to benefit conservatives.

Remember the 2020 election? Amid the pandemic, state courts, without legislators, loosened election laws. Some examples included expanding mail-in-voting ballots to everyone, changing the timeline of allowed voting, and other relaxations of the regular voting procedure. Texas filed a lawsuit claiming that the 2020 election was unconstitutional because election laws were changed without legislator approval.

The Left believes independent legislature theory would allow the GOP to stage a coup. In reality, it’s just about who sets the rules for elections. The current situation provides state courts and judges to decide elections. The change would give that power to legislators (elected state officials) who have a track record of trying to pass election integrity measures.

There is no evidence that the Supreme Court is sympathetic to the theory.

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