Definition of 'legislature' causing a fuss

Definition of 'legislature' causing a fuss

Definition of 'legislature' causing a fuss

A former Justice Department attorney isn't sure if the Supreme Court is "ready to swallow" an idea that would solidify state legislatures' control over laws governing federal elections.

As the 2022 midterms and the 2024 presidential election near, voters in states like Pennsylvania remain concerned about election integrity. The legislature there has attempted to fix the issues regarding drop boxes, which many Americans believe contributed to the widespread fraud in 2020 that cost Donald Trump the election, but Democrat Governor Tom Wolf vetoed the legislation.

At the center of the ongoing legal dispute is the clause in the Constitution that gives the "legislature" of each state subject to oversight by Congress. Conservatives say the plain meaning of the founding document is that state legislatures – and only state legislatures – have the power to set those rules, which would cut governors, election officials, and state courts out of the rulemaking process.

Adams, J. Christian (PILF) Adams

"There is an emerging argument called the Independent State Legislature Doctrine, that state legislatures get to decide what the rules are for elections for Congress and also for presidential electors," explains J. Christian Adams, founder and president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation. "That idea has not fully bloomed yet in the law. It's been talked about, but no court case has ever upheld it."

He advises voters to stay tuned, though.

"I'm not sure the Supreme Court is ready to swallow that whole idea, but there has been a couple of years of abuse in the other direction, where courts, where governors are deciding to suspend laws," the former Justice Department attorney notices.

Meanwhile, Yahoo! points out that the case arrives at a moment when conservatives hold a 6-3 majority in the Supreme Court and when polls continue to show that Americans are losing faith in elections.