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 nearly unchecked 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 posed rose in the wake of the 2020 election as several sitting justices of the Supreme Court voiced their interest in making it the new law of the land.
The Brennan Center and its allies averted this worst-case scenario, when they mobilized to secure a Supreme Court ruling rejecting this fringe theory in the case Moore v. Harper. Now, the Brennan Center is using litigation and communications projects to ensure that the Court’s ruling shores up protections against election subversion.