Supreme Court Throws Out Radical Election Case

The US Supreme Court building in Washington, DC.

( – The Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, rejected a radical legal theory that would have fundamentally altered how American elections are carried out, giving state legislatures almost unlimited control over elections.

The case revolved around the “independent state legislature” theory, which is predicated upon a rather extreme interpretation of the Constitution’s Elections Clause. The clause, located in article I, section 4 of the Constitution, gives the states the authority to determine “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,” and that such power is vested in the “legislatures thereof.”

The biggest proponents of the “independent state legislature” theory believe that the Constitution exclusively vests the power of determining the time, place and manner of holding elections in the state legislatures. This would mean that the state legislatures would be independent of election administrators, state courts, governors and even state judicial review as handed down by a state’s supreme court.

Chief Justice John Roberts issued the majority opinion — which also saw conservative Justices Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas dissent — rejecting this view and saying that the state legislatures are not suddenly independent of other branches of state government simply due to the Election Clause. Furthermore, Roberts said that the authority vested by the Constitution into the state legislatures regarding elections does not make them any less accountable to “ordinary constraints imposed by state law.”

The decision comes in the wake of a series of surprise decisions by the High Court, which is currently dominated by a 6-3 conservative majority, such as its decision to reject an Alabama voting map after ruling that the map would unfairly dilute the voting power of black-American voters.

The Supreme Court, in another surprising decision, also revived the Biden administration’s immigration guidelines, which permit the administration to choose which illegal immigrants to arrest and which ones to leave alone. The Court’s ruling comes after two conservative states attempted to challenge the Biden administration in court, seeking stricter immigration guidelines.

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