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Moore v. Harper and the Independent State Legislature Theory


  • City:
  • Start Date:2023-04-20 20:00:00
  • End Date:2025-04-20 20:00:00
  • Length:
  • Level:Intermediate
  • Topics:Government

$79.00 ["ProPass"]

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Overview

Moore v. Harper could have sweeping implications on upcoming federal elections.

The Supreme Court’s December 2022 argument session included one of the highest-profile cases of the 2022-23 term: Moore v. Harper. At the heart of the case is the idea known as the “Independent State Legislature Theory”, whose proponents argue that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures the sole authority to draw congressional maps and select Presidential electors, and that their decisions are unfettered by state constitutions and unreviewable by state courts. 

When it comes to making state laws that apply to federal elections — from drawing congressional district lines to voting procedures — under this theory, the state legislature has exclusive power to set the rules.

Proponents of the theory argue that the language of Article I, Section 4 of the Constitution grants state legislatures exclusive, and judicially unreviewable power to redraw congressional districts for federal elections, allowing partisan gerrymandering of congressional districts by state legislatures that is not reviewable by the state courts under their state constitutions. They also contend that Article II, Section 1, Clause 2 of the Constitution, which states that each State shall appoint Presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct,” makes decisions on who has won a Presidential vote in the state for the purposes of the Electoral College also unreviewable by state courts, regardless of what’s written in the state’s constitution.

Join experts to explore the implications of the Independent State Legislature Theory, hear Pennsylvania specific perspectives, and learn what this means for the 2024 election. 

The discussion will touch upon these topics:

  • Judicial protections against gerrymandering
  • State courts’, governors’, and redistricting commissions’ veto rights
  • Potential changes to federal elections, including voter registration, mail-in voting, and voting hours
  • Moore v. Harper’s potential impact on redistricting and election law in other states

Co-sponsored with Keep Our Republic. Founded in 2020, Keep Our Republic is a non-partisan civic action organization dedicated to protecting a republic of laws and strengthening the checks and balances of our democratic electoral system.

All attendees will receive the course handout as a digital download. This handout is not available for purchase.

Recorded in April 2023.

Faculty

Thomas Corbett, Jr.

Hon. Tom Corbet is counsel with Spilman Thomas & Battle, PLLC. His primary areas of practice include government relations, energy law, business crime, corporate compliance and internal investigations. Corbett has a long and distinguished career serving the citizens of the commonwealth. He was sworn in as the governor of Pennsylvania on January 18th, 2011, and before then served as an assistant district attorney, assistant U.S. attorney, U.S. attorney, chair of the Pennsylvania Commission of Crime and Delinquency, and Pennsylvania attorney general. Corbett has also served as a key advisor to U.S. presidents and governors. His administration focused on private sector job growth, tort reform and education. He is a Distinguished Lecturer for Duquesne University School of Law. Corbett received his undergraduate degree from Lebanon Valley College and his law degree from St. Mary’s University School of Law. Corbett served his country as a member of the Pennsylvania National Guard 28th Infantry Division from 1971 until 1984, rising from private to captain.

Sandra Newman

Justice Newman was admitted to practice law in 1972. She was elected Judge of the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania in 1993 and then elected to the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania in 1995. Justice Newman was the first female elected to Pennsylvania’s highest Court. Prior to entering the judiciary, she was in the private practice of law for twenty years. She also served as an assistant district attorney in Montgomery County, Pennsylvania. Justice Newman is Past President of the Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Academy of Matrimonial Lawyers. She received her J.D. from Villanova University School of Law, M.A. from Temple University and her B.S. from Drexel University. Justice Newman was listed in BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA, published by Seview/Putnam, from 1983 until she was elected to a Judgeship. Justice Newman was the Liaison from the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania to the First Judicial District (Philadelphia Courts) from 2002 through 2006. In 1993, she was honored as the third recipient and first female graduate to receive the Medallion of Achievement Award at Villanova University School of Law’s commencement exercises. In 2005, Justice Newman received the Anne X. Alpern Award from the Pennsylvania Bar Association’s Women in the Profession Committee. This award is given to a female lawyer or judge who demonstrates excellence in the legal profession and who makes a significant professional impact on women in the law. She also holds four Honorary Doctorate Degrees. Justice Newman is one of the founders of the new Drexel University College of Law. She is also on the Board of Overseers at Drexel Law, and was on the Committee to select a new law school Dean. Justice Newman is also on the Board of Consultors of Villanova University School of Law and was its past Chair. She was a Member of the Dean Search Committee for Drexel University College of Medicine in 2005 and has been on the Executive Board of Trustees of Drexel University College of Medicine since 2002. She is also a Distinguished Daughter of Pennsylvania. She is currently in the private practice of law where she specializes in Appellate Law and does Mediation and Arbitration.

Jonathan Winer

Jonathan M. Winer serves on the National Advisory Board for Keep Our Republic. He served as U.S. Special Envoy for Libya, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for International Law Enforcement, and as a Counsel to U.S. Senator John Kerry, when he worked on campaign finance and election issues. In 2016, Winer received the highest departmental award granted by the Secretary of State, for “extraordinary service to the U.S. government.”


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