Texas v. Pennsylvania and the Political-Question Doctrine
2021 University of Illinois Law Review Online 141
9 Pages Posted: 1 Apr 2021 Last revised: 14 Apr 2021
Date Written: February 19, 2021
In the wake of the 2020 presidential election, Texas sued four other states in an original action in the U.S. Supreme Court arguing that those states violated, among other constitutional provisions, the Electors Clause. One issue the Supreme Court did not reach in the case—and has never reached before—was the impact of the political-question doctrine on claims under the Electors Clause. This short essay takes up that issue. Analyzing the applicability of the political-question doctrine to the Electors Clause, I conclude that the political-question doctrine operates as only a narrow constraint on Electors Clause claims. Applying those principles, I conclude that Texas’s claims were not barred by the political-question doctrine, though portions of the relief Texas sought may have been.
Keywords: texas v. pennsylvania, political question, political-question doctrine, electors, electors clause, 2020 election
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