The Supreme Court is hearing a case tomorrow from North Carolina that was brought by the Speaker of the state House.
Speaker Timothy Moore is challenging the state court’s authority to draw federal congressional maps for the state when the Constitution gives that authority solely to the legislature.
At issue were maps drawn by the legislature which the state supreme court rejected. The state supreme court then drew their own maps, which became the maps for the state.
But there could be more at stake than just congressional maps. If you remember, this is the case which Hillary Clinton referenced earlier this year when she claimed “Right-wing extremists already have a plan to literally steal the next presidential election.”
Her statement was just leftwing fear-mongering, but this is a case about a state’s authority to set rules for federal elections. Moore is arguing for legislative primacy over the state courts, saying the courts don’t have the power to overrule the legislature on the issue of federal elections.
Here’s more from Roll Call on this:
The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a case about North Carolina’s congressional map that could give state legislatures more sway over federal elections.
Members of the state’s Republican-controlled legislature have argued that the state Supreme Court overstepped its bounds earlier this year when it ruled the newly redrawn congressional districts violated the state constitution through partisan gerrymandering.
The state court approved a new congressional map for the 2022 midterm elections that was less favorable overall for Republican candidates — and the legislators want the U.S. Supreme Court to find that move violated the U.S. Constitution.
But the Tar Heel State voters who first challenged the map, along with dozens of outside experts, contend that siding with the legislators would throw into doubt hundreds of election rules across the nation — as broad as congressional maps or as local as the locations of polling places.
Eliza Sweren-Becker, counsel on voting rights and elections at the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Law School, said the theory presents “real dangers” to how the states conduct elections.
“There’s really no way to soft-pedal what North Carolina legislators are asking for in this case,” Sweren-Becker said at a panel discussion. “What they want will mean election chaos.”
The arguments in the case, Moore v. Harper, revolve around the “independent state legislature” theory, which stems from the Elections Clause in the Constitution. The clause says that state legislatures determine the “The Times, Places and Manner” of federal elections for senators and representatives, unless Congress passes a law to override them.
North Carolina’s legislators argue the Elections Clause means state courts do not have the power to hear a dispute over federal election rules.
“The Constitution thus grants the state ‘Legislature’ primacy in setting the rules for federal elections, subject to check only by Congress,” and not the state courts, the North Carolina legislators wrote in their brief to the justices.
The Republicans added that by reading a few separate clauses of the state constitution to bar political gerrymandering, the state court made legislators’ authority moot.
“The Elections Clause’s allocation of authority to state legislatures would be emptied of meaning if state courts could seize on vaguely-worded state-constitutional clauses to replace the legislature’s chosen election regulations with their own,” the legislators argued.
Voters could still challenge election laws in federal courts based on federal laws but could not challenge congressional maps based on partisan gerrymandering.
Zach Smith, a legal fellow at the Heritage Foundation, said the potential sweep of a decision in favor of the state legislators has been overstated.
Numerous cases over the decades have tested the limits of how much say state courts should have over federal elections, he said, and “it is better that the court resolve the issue now than when elections are taking place and the court’s decision could be outcome determinative.”
Some argue that Alito, Thomas and Gorsuch will support Moore in this case. They argue that the justices that remain unknown on this are Kavanaugh, Barrett and Roberts.
I guess we’ll find out.