Supreme Court Case Could Change Elections

Thank goodness the latest Supreme Court case is not based on abortion rights, which had leftists spiraling out of control this past summer. Next on the court docket is redistricting. Moore v. Harper was granted last June for the October 2022-23 term, and oral arguments are scheduled for December 7. The Supreme Court must consider whether it was constitutional for North Carolina to dismiss the last redistricting map in favor of Republicans.

Most states cannot use independent state legislature doctrine to interfere in redistricting, but NC passed a law granting local courts authority to review the maps. The case is not cut and dry. If successful, critics say that “independent state legislature doctrine” could create a path for single-party rule.

The U.S. Constitution states that “times, places, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.” This clause in Section 1, Article 4 indicates legislative power to draw on congressional districts, set rules for federal elections and appoint presidential electors. The state courts would not be able to interfere even if their state constitution is violated.

North Carolina passed a law twenty years ago that empowers state courts to review electoral maps and create their own “interim districting plans.” Moore’s lawyers must prove the legislature violated the U.S. Constitution by imposing its authority over redistricting. Many people involved in the case fear a broad ruling.

Should the Supreme Court rule in favor of NC, legislatures will have more power to decide rules for federal elections, laws about voter ID Requirements, early voting procedures and redistricting beyond the governors’ vetoes and state courts.

The North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and Democratic Voters, backed by the National Redistricting Foundation, sued in state court over redistricting plans drawn by the Republican legislature. The democratic majority ruled that the plans were unconstitutional partisan gerrymanders.

It’s possible that the court could issue a narrower ruling. Congressional Research Service analysts said an order that limits state court review of redistricting to certain circumstances could be a more favorable outcome.