The theory of the “independent legislature”. What this means for the PA

“The times, places, and manner of holding the elections of senators and representatives shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof; but Congress may at any time, by law, make or modify such regulations, except as to the choice places of senators. – United States Constitution, Article 1, Section 4

The theory of the “independent legislature”.

How this theory is interpreted in the months and years to come will have major ramifications for how the Commonwealth and other states choose presidential voters.

In most cases, the clause has been interpreted that the states and their legislatures decide the times and places of elections, but Congress can change them for senators and representatives. The Republican state legislatures of Pennsylvania and North Carolina read this clause as only state legislatures can make election rules, unless the federal government passes legislation to the contrary.

Translation. Any decision by a state court requiring the reshuffling of state legislative maps is unconstitutional under the US Constitution.

The United States Supreme Court has never taken this position, deferring to state courts as arbiters of state constitutions and laws.

And on Monday, the High Court dismissed redistricting challenges from the AP and NC, largely on procedural grounds. However, if the GOP requested a further review of the case, four justices – Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaughindicated that they would put the case on the court docket, in accordance with the rules of the court. To grant a requested stay, the Court would need five votes in favor.

“If the language of the election clause is taken seriously, there must be some limit the power of state courts to overrule actions taken by state legislatures when prescribing rules for the conduct of federal elections,” Alito wrote.

Even then, how far could the decision go? “There’s a lot of nuance potential here,” said Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine School of Law who does not support the theory. “Even if you had a majority of judges who agreed there was something to that theory, they might not agree that a particular state violated it,” he said. POLITICS.

The case of Pennsylvania is unique in several respects. Its Supreme Court has never rejected a legislative map. The court chose its own because the governor and the legislature were deadlocked.

“The main votes that everyone is looking at are (Chief Justice John) Roberts, (Amy Coney) Barrette and Kavanaugh. And whoever gets two out of three will probably win,” said Cameron Kistlerlawyer in the Protect Democracy group.

Victoria Bassettisenior adviser to the nonpartisan United States United Democracy Center noted that it could also create a situation in which state legislatures take a more active role in administering elections.

Virtually unchecked supremacy of legislatures “essentially would make one branch of government the absolute authority over how our democracy is implemented,” she said. “It really goes against the whole idea of ​​American democracy, which is the balance of power.”

March 10, 2022 | Posted in Front Page Stories, Judicial, Top Stories | 2 comments

Previous Hemet Rough Arrest spurred by missing license plate leads to trial – NBC Los Angeles
Next Reinventing Christianity and Sexual Diversity in Africa by Adriaan van Klinken and Ezra Chitando