Supreme Court to hear major case on state legislatures’ authority over elections

by WorldTribune Staff, July 9, 2022

The U.S. Supreme Court on June 30 announced it would take up a North Carolina case which could potentially give state legislatures control over their states’ elections.

U.S. Supreme Court / Wikimedia Commons

The court will hear Moore v Harper, a case that emerged out of North Carolina’s latest redistricting cycle. The case saw the state Supreme Court’s Democrat majority reject voting maps drawn by the state’s Republican-led General Assembly.

On March 17, North Carolina’s GOP lawmakers in petitioning the Supreme Court noted that a critical clause in the U.S. Constitution defines the independent state legislature theory and that state courts do not have the power to reject congressional voting maps.

North Carolina Republicans want the map that the state court struck down reinstated. Meanwhile, a court-drawn map is being used for the 2022 midterms.

Justice Brett Kavanaugh said it was too close to the balloting to force North Carolina to change its districts again. However, he indicated he agreed with Justices Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, and Samuel Alito that the Supreme Court should address the issue of the state court’s role in managing state legislatures’ decisions about redistricting.

Those closely involved in Moore v Harper indicate they are hoping for a ruling that gives state legislatures the final word on congressional election map.

North Carolina Senate President Pro Tem Phil Berger, who is part of the case, said in a statement on June 30: “On the heels of another victory at the U.S. Supreme Court, I am confident that this court recognizes what our State Supreme Court failed to recognize — that the United States Constitution explicitly gives the General Assembly authority to draw districts and that authority must be recognized.”

Leftists pleaded with the Supreme Court not to take the case.

Common Cause, which has challenged the election maps drawn by North Carolina’s Republican-led General Assembly for the past decade, stated: “The way they see it, because the Constitution refers to ‘the Legislature’ of a State setting the time, place, and manner of congressional elections, it precludes state courts from reviewing whether such election-related legislation complies with the state’s own constitution. Instead, Petitioners would have this Court say that a state legislature has carte blanche in this context—unrestrained by state constitutional limitations and unable to incorporate state courts into the process, even if it passes a statute attempting to do so. As a matter of text, structure, history, precedent, and long-established practice in this country, that is flatly wrong.”

Deep-state-funded organizations like the Brennan Center for Justice describe the independent state legislature theory and the potential SCOTUS ruling on the case as “the nightmare scenario” which would “radically change our elections.”

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