Another way of looking at the Arizona State Legislature case is that the Constitution should be read to limit the freedom of states to take decisions that affect the structure or composition of the national government. This rationale is advanced in some of the cases that discuss different uses of the word “legislature,” so let’s explore some examples.
1. The ratification and proposal of constitutional amendments. Article Five provides that Congress gets to decide how a constitutional amendment is ratified (either through state legislatures or conventions). Article Five also specifies that only state legislatures may petition Congress for a second constitutional convention. In neither instance may a state choose another method (say, by giving the Governor a role, using the initiative process, etc.) Why? I suppose because these are national (rather than local) decisions and thus the nation gets to choose the means.
2. The election of Senators prior to the Sixteenth Amendment. Only state legislatures could pick senators. A state could not write its constitution to use another method. Senators, of course, are national officials.
3. The creation of new states from existing states. Article Four says that this cannot be done without the consent of the relevant state legislatures. Creating new states, of course, has a profound effect on the national government.
Why do I bring these up? You could say that congressional redistricting is an example of a state action that directly affects the composition of Congress. As a result, the Constitution’s statement that this “shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof” does limit a state’s ability to use some other method like an independent body. On the other hand, Article One, Section expressly gives Congress the power to override a state decision of this sort. As a result, you could say that if Congress does not prohibit what a state does in this regard then the Constitution should not be read to impose an independent barrier. in other words, there is no “Dormant Elections Clause.”
Just food for thought.