Skip to main content
PRINT EDITION

The Meaning, History, and Importance of Elections Clause

Abstract: Historically, the Supreme Court has offered scant attention to or analysis of the Elections Clause, resulting in similarly limited scholarship on the Clause’s original meaning and public understanding over time. The Clause directs states to make regulations for the time, place, and manner of congressional elections, and grants Congress superseding authority to make or alter those rules.

But the 2020 elections forced the Elections Clause into the spotlight, with Republican litigants relying on the Clause to ask the Supreme Court to limit which state actors can regulate federal elections. This new focus comes on the heels of the Clause serving as the primary constitutional basis for democracy reform legislation that passed the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019 and was reintroduced in 2021. Increased interest heightens the need for a deeper understanding of the intent and meaning of the Elections Clause. This Article fills a gap in the literature by providing a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis of the purpose, meaning, and interpretation of the Elections Clause by the Framers, early Congresses, and federal courts.

Download the Full Article

Other Articles from WLR Print Edition

December 1, 2023 in PRINT EDITION

Putting the Public Back in the Public Trust Doctrine: A Reinterpretation to Advance Native Hawaiian Water Rights

Abstract: The public trust doctrine guarantees that the government will hold natural resources in trust and protect them for the common good. The doctrine has played a key role in…
Read More
December 1, 2023 in PRINT EDITION

A Good Death: End-of-Life Lawyering Through a Relational Autonomy Lens

Abstract: Death is difficult—even for lawyers who counsel clients on end-of-life planning. The predominant approach to counseling clients about death relies too heavily on traditional notions of personal autonomy and…
Read More
December 1, 2023 in PRINT EDITION

Surprises in the Skies: Resolving the Circuit Split on How Courts Should Determine Whether an “Accident” is “Unexpected or Unusual” Under the Montreal Convention

Abstract: Article 17 of both the Montreal Convention and its predecessor, the Warsaw Convention, imposes liability onto air carriers for certain injuries and damages from “accidents” incurred by passengers during…
Read More