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Founded in 1949, amicus curiae Conference of Chief Justices (the “Conference”) is comprised of the Chief Justices or Chief Judges of the courts of last resort in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealths of Puerto Rico and the Northern Mariana Islands, and the Territories of American Samoa, Guam, and the Virgin Islands. For over 70 years, the Conference has been a leading national voice on important issues concerning the administration of justice in state courts, the operation of state courts and judicial systems, and the role of state courts in our federal system.

The Conference files briefs amicus curiae only when critical interests of the state courts are at stake. This case involves the authority of state courts to interpret and review the constitutionality of state laws regulating the time, place, and manner of federal elections, and this Court’s resolution may determine the constraints, if any, that the U.S. Constitution places on such state-court review. The Conference has a strong interest in the States’ sovereign right to determine the structure of their state governments, including the authority of state courts and the role of state constitutions within that structure. The Conference recognizes that the States, including state courts, are limited by the U.S. Constitution, and the Conference has a significant interest in ensuring that those limits are properly interpreted to respect the independent sovereignty of the States; that state courts are the ultimate interpreters of the meaning of state law; and that power not expressly assigned to the federal government is “reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” U.S. Const. amend. X.

The Conference also has a keen interest in obtaining clear guidance from this Court about whether and to what extent the Elections Clause, U.S. Const. art. I, § 4, cl. 1, affects state courts’ capacity and responsibility to interpret state laws regulating federal elections and to engage in judicial review based on state constitutional provisions.

This brief has been reviewed and approved by the Amicus Committee of the Conference, chaired by the Chief Justice of Kentucky, and composed of the current or former Chief Justices of Delaware, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Texas, and Utah. The Conference does not take a position on the proper disposition of this case. Instead, it supports an interpretation of the Elections Clause that reflects the proper role of state courts in our federal system.

Summary of argument:

The Elections Clause does not bar state court review of state laws governing federal elections under state constitutional provisions.