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Paul, Weiss Files Supreme Court Amicus Brief in “Independent State Legislature Theory” Case

On October 26, Paul, Weiss filed an amicus brief on behalf of the country’s leading historians of the American Revolutionary and Founding Era in Moore v. Harper. In this closely watched voting rights case, the Supreme Court is being asked by North Carolina Republican state legislators to adopt the so-called “independent state legislature theory,” under which state legislatures would have nearly unbridled power to set election rules free from any review by state courts—even for rules that violate state constitutions.

Our brief presents the historians’ research on the Founding Era and argues that the original meaning of the Constitution’s Elections Clause—from which the independent state legislature theory is derived—did not give state legislatures the exclusive and unconstrained power to regulate congressional elections that the petitioners urge, and was in fact intended to prevent such an abuse of power.

If this theory is embraced by the Court, state courts will not have authority over any changes state legislatures make to their congressional districting plans, voting access or certification of election results, which may have significant consequences for how elections are conducted and how votes are counted.

The Paul, Weiss team includes litigation partner Robert Atkins, of counsel Walter Rieman, counsel Jonathan Hurwitz, and associates David Cole, Jake Struebing, Jason Driscoll, Charles Sucher, Jennifer Kim, Neil Chitrao, Henry Topper, Arielle McTootle and William Taylor.

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