SCOTUS To Hear Case That Could Give State Legislatures, Not Judges, Power to Regulate Elections

Authored by Matthew Vadum via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours),

The Supreme Court decided on June 30 to hear an important new case that Republicans hope will re-empower state legislatures to make rules for redistricting and governing congressional and presidential elections.

The Supreme Court building in Washington on June 21, 2022.
The Supreme Court building in Washington on June 21, 2022. (Anna Moneymaker/Getty Images)

Republicans say the U.S. Constitution has always directly authorized state legislatures to make rules for the conduct of elections, including presidential elections. Democrats say this idea, encompassed by the Independent State Legislature Doctrine, is a fringe conservative legal theory that could endanger voting rights. The Supreme Court has reportedly never ruled on the doctrine.

The doctrine, if endorsed by the high court, could allow state legislatures to select presidential electors in disputed elections, something critics decry as a threat to democracy.

Election law expert J. Christian Adams, a former U.S. Department of Justice civil rights attorney who now heads the Public Interest Legal Foundation, an election integrity group, praised the Supreme Court for granting the case, which he said was “very important.”

It means that the Court may take up all the nonsense that has been occurring over the last 10 years,” Adams told The Epoch Times by email.

In a series of Twitter posts, Democratic Party attorney and election law activist Marc Elias denounced the court’s decision to hear the case.

“The Supreme Court will hear a case next term that may validate the dangerous independent state legislature theory,” Elias wrote.

“Congress must enact comprehensive voting rights and anti-subversion legislation before it’s too late,” he wrote, adding “the future of our democracy is on the docket.”

The doctrine has been in the news because conservative Republican activist Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, sent emails to 29 Republican state lawmakers in Arizona urging them to choose the state’s presidential electors despite the disputed popular vote tallies showing Democrat Joe Biden had won the state, The Washington Post reported June 10.

The emails were sent Nov. 9, 2020, after media outlets had called the Arizona race for Biden. The efforts by Republicans to change the result in Arizona were unsuccessful and ultimately the state’s 11 votes in the Electoral College were awarded to Biden.

In her emails, Ginni Thomas, a supporter of then-President Donald Trump, asked Arizona legislators to “stand strong in the face of political and media pressure” and asserted that the responsibility to select electors was “yours and yours alone.” Lawmakers, she wrote, had the “power to fight back against fraud” and “ensure that a clean slate of Electors is chosen.”

The emails attracted the attention of the U.S. House select committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, security breach at the U.S. Capitol that delayed official congressional certification of the 2020 presidential election by several hours. Democrats also say there is a conflict of interest because Justice Thomas will participate in the court case about the independent state legislature doctrine. Through her lawyers, Ginni Thomas is resisting committee demands that she testify in the ongoing probe that many Republicans, including Trump, say is a sham.

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