The justices have agreed to hear Moore v. Harper, a case that hinges on a technical legal issue with immense implications, and that raises the question of whether there any limits to the kinds of election rules that state legislatures may pass….
The idea is known as the “independent state legislature” theory. It suggests that state courts overstep their bounds when they strike down election laws under the state constitution. In invalidating a voting rule that applies to federal elections, the argument goes, the state court is taking away authority from the state legislature, contrary to what is dictated by the US Constitution.
Even secretaries of state or election boards — which oversee elections — would not be allowed to promulgate voting rules not explicitly authorized by state legislatures. Taken to its extreme, a legislature might even keep the authority for resolving a dispute about the presidential election for itself and then ultimately declare the winner it wants, outside of the constraints of the state constitution. Nothing could be more anti-democracy.