Conservative legal activists are pushing the Supreme Court to make the so-called “independent state legislature theory” the new law of the land. Under this radical and unprecedented approach to the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause, state legislatures would have exclusive power to make election law, unconstrained by state constitutions, state courts, and maybe even federal law. If the Court endorsed this theory, it would upend our system of government and could overturn every state’s election system, opening the door to more voter suppression and redistricting that makes it harder for voters, particularly voters of color, to cast ballots that count in free and fair elections.
At least four Supreme Court justices have signaled their openness to this radical theory. But a new wave of scholarship shows just how wrong and damaging it would be if the Court transformed this theory into law.
- Vikram D. Amar: Dean and Iwan Foundation Professor of Law, University of Illinois School of Law
- Leah Litman: Assistant Professor of Law, Michigan Law
- Carolyn Shapiro: Professor and Co-director of the Institute on the Supreme Court of the United States, Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Tech
- Kate Shaw: Professor of Law and Co-Director of Floersheimer Center for Constitutional Democracy, Cardozo Law
- Moderator: Wilfred U. Codrington III: Fellow, Brennan Center; Assistant Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School