The Fifteenth Amendment and the Independent State Legislature Theory

Document Type

Blog Posting

Publication Date


Publication Title

Election Law Blog


The Supreme Court recently heard oral argument in Moore v. Harper, which concerns the definition of “legislature” in Article I’s Elections Clause and the so-called independent state legislature theory (ISLT). A core dispute in the case is whether—and to what extent—state constitutions can restrain state legislatures’ regulation of federal elections. Accordingly, the parties and the Justices deliberated over historical examples of state legislatures regulating federal elections. However, this discussion overlooked an important historical episode concerning the analogous power of “legislatures” exercising ratification authority under Article V.


Fifteenth Amendment, Independent State Legislature Theory, Constitutional Law

Publication Citation

Travis Crum, The Fifteenth Amendment and the Independent State Legislature Theory, Election Law Blog (Dec. 8, 2022, 10:29 AM)