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AG Nessel Responds to SCOTUS Ruling in Moore v. Harper
June 27, 2023
LANSING – Today, in a 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court of the United States affirmed the ruling of the North Carolina Supreme Court to reject the radical “independent state legislature theory." This theory posits that, under the Elections Clause, a state legislature has free rein to establish any election procedures it wishes, free from any checks, balances, or other constraints placed on it by its state constitution. Attorney General Dana Nessel joined 21 other state attorneys general in filing an amicus brief in support of the traditional interpretation of the federal Constitution’s Elections Clause, upheld today in Washington.
“The Supreme Court rightly upheld the ruling out of North Carolina that declared the independent state legislature theory ahistorical nonsense that reflects neither the law in practice and spirit nor our continuous endeavor toward a free and fair democracy,” said Nessel. “I appreciate the Court’s holding that the ordinary exercise of judicial review applies equally to our election law. I joined the coalition on our amicus brief on this case to preserve states’ rights to enforce their constitutions to ensure free and fair elections and to keep this radical ideology from upending settled election practices.”
In their filed brief, the attorneys general argued that the Petitioners' "independent state legislature theory" lacks any historical or constitutional foundation and that its adoption would invalidate a large swath of state election law that does not come from the state legislature, such as state constitutions, court decisions, and regulations. Elections would thus become unworkable and impossible to administer, and the outcomes likely less democratic.