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Indiana group weighs in on controversial U.S. Supreme Court case being heard Wednesday

The front exterior of the United States Supreme Court building in Washington, D.C. Its entrance has eight, tall columns at the top of a set of stairs.
FILE PHOTO: Justin Hicks
IPB News
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear a controversial case – Moore v. Harper – that deals with how federal elections are governed.

The U.S. Supreme Court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case that could upend federal elections across the country.

Moore v. Harper involves a fringe legal theory known as the Independent State Legislature Theory. And its potential consequences have dozens of groups weighing in – including one from Indiana.

The case boils down to this: North Carolina Republicans want the Supreme Court to decide that only state legislatures have the power to decide how congressional elections are run, with no oversight from state courts or constitutions.

Women4Change Indiana, a nonpartisan advocacy group, filed a brief with the Court, urging it not to rule that way. Executive Director Rima Shahid said the case is about ensuring the integrity of elections for generations.

“How the folks that we elect should have some checks and balances on ultimate authority of voting,” Shahid said.

READ MORE: A controversial election theory at the Supreme Court is tied to a disputed document

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It’s not just advocacy groups getting involved. The Conference of Chief Justices represents state court heads around the country. It rarely files briefs with the Supreme Court. But current conference president – Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush – said the group was compelled to weigh in on this case.

“We thought Moore was a very important issue relating to the relationship between federal and state courts – with fundamental issues of federalism ­­– that we thought it was important that we, as a group, speak on,” Rush said.

Rush noted that her group’s brief did not advocate for either side in the case.

Contact reporter Brandon at or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Brandon Smith has covered the Statehouse for Indiana Public Broadcasting for more than a decade, spanning three governors and a dozen legislative sessions. He's also the host of Indiana Week in Review, a weekly political and policy discussion program seen and heard across the state. He previously worked at KBIA in Columbia, Missouri and WSPY in Plano, Illinois. His first job in radio was in another state capitol - Jefferson City, Missouri - as a reporter for three stations around the Show-Me State.