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At the end of its past term, the Supreme Court took up the case of Moore v. Harper, a challenge to North Carolina State Supreme Court rulings on elections that promises to confront the controversial independent state legislature doctrine, which argues that the Constitution empowers state legislatures over other state institutions when it comes to deciding certain election matters. Court watchers have posited that the decision could be a major one, as upholding the independent state legislature doctrine could not only hinder the state judicial enforcement of various election-related rights, but potentially strengthen arguments that state legislatures can decide how to allocate their state's electors in presidential elections, a contention that played a central role in some of the legal machinations that former President Donald Trump supporters attempted to pursue following the 2020 election in order to turn the results in his favor.
To better understand what exactly is at stake in Moore v. Harper, Scott R. Anderson spoke to Derek Muller, a professor at the University of Iowa College of Law and a leading election law expert. They discussed what the independent state legislature doctrine may look like in practice, how it intersects with congressional and presidential elections, and what Moore v. Harper does and doesn't mean for the security of U.S. elections moving forward.