The Historian's Case Against the Independent State Legislature Theory
31 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2022
Date Written: October 12, 2022
This Essay explores historical evidence from the Founding Era underlying Art. 1, Sec. 4 of the US Constitution (and related clauses) that delegate certain powers to state legislatures in making federal election laws. The article shows that far from empowering the state legislatures, the US Constitution was meant to curb state legislative supremacy and confirm the subordination of state legislatures to the checks and balances embedded in the individual state constitutions. It shows that the Independent State Legislature Theory is contrary to both the theory of constitutional government and the practices of state legislatures in making federal election laws.
Keywords: Independent State Legislature Theory, state constitutions, federal election laws, founding era, Moore v. Harper
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