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03/01/2015

The Meaning of "Legislature" on Monday
Michael Ramsey

The argument in the Arizona Legislature case is Monday 3/2.  Lyle Denniston previews the case for SCOTUSblog here.  

George Will  comments: Two reading lessons from the Supreme Court (also discussing King v. Burwell, argument on Wednesday).  He thinks the case is clear: 

Surely ... in writing the elections clause the Framers used the word “legislature” as it was and still is generally understood, to mean the representative body that makes a state’s laws. Arizona cannot strip its legislature of a power that flows to it from the U.S. Constitution.

My previous thoughts are here:  The Original Meaning of "Legislature."  Plus counterarguments from Seth Barrett Tillman and Gerard Magliocca.  I agree with Will that the language is clear (but I don't agree with his implication that it's clear how the Court will rule).  It's an important test for textualism, in my view.

(Interestingly, Will goes on to suggest that the voter initiative process that produced the Arizona system is itself unconstitutional as violating Article IV's guarantee clause -- direct democracy, in his view, not being part of a "Republican Form of Government."  At minimum, this seems much less obvious).