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‘Independent State Legislature Theory’

The Brennan Center is fighting to stop a dubious legal theory that could have catastrophic consequences for elections.


The “inde­pend­ent state legis­lature theory” is a misread­ing of the Consti­tu­­tion, advanced in recent years by a small group of right-wing advoc­ates, that would give state legis­latures wide author­ity to gerry­mander elect­oral maps and pass voter suppres­­sion laws. It has even been used as polit­ical cover to try to over­­turn elec­­tions. At its core, the theory chal­lenges long­stand­ing checks and balances on state legis­latures when they make laws for federal elec­tions. The danger that this unortho­dox theory poses has risen in recent years as several sitting justices of the Supreme Court have voiced their interest in making it the new law of the land. 

But there’s still time to protect our elec­tions. The Bren­nan Center is mobil­iz­ing to block this threat through a combin­a­tion of litig­a­tion and commu­nic­a­tions projects designed to shore up the legal protec­tions for fair elec­tions and fair maps.