The Historian's Case Against the Independent State Legislature Theory

31 Pages Posted: 4 Nov 2022

See all articles by Rosemarie Zagarri

Rosemarie Zagarri

George Mason University-History Dept.

Date Written: October 12, 2022

Abstract

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

Suggested Citation

Zagarri, Rosemarie, The Historian's Case Against the Independent State Legislature Theory (October 12, 2022). Boston College Law Review, March 2023 (Forthcoming), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4245950 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4245950

Rosemarie Zagarri (Contact Author)

George Mason University-History Dept. ( email )

4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030
United States

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