The Supreme Court is preparing to hear a new election case, a Republican-led challenge seeking an unique finding that could greatly expand the influence of state legislators over congressional and presidential elections.
The court is scheduled to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where a Democratic majority on the state Supreme Court overturned Republican efforts to design congressional districts substantially in their favor because the GOP plan violated the state constitution.
In North Carolina’s extremely contested midterm elections last month, a court-drawn map generated seven seats for each party.
The justices must determine whether the clause of the U.S. Constitution that gives state legislatures the authority to choose the “times, places, and manner” of congressional elections excludes state courts from the process.
“This is the single most important case on American democracy — and for American democracy — in the nation’s history,” said former federal judge Michael Luttig, a prominent conservative who has joined the legal team defending the North Carolina court decision.
The Republican leaders of the North Carolina legislature informed the Supreme Court that the Constitution places the regulation of federal elections in the hands of state legislatures, Congress, and no other entity.
Regarding federal elections, three conservative judges have previously expressed sympathy for the notion that the state court inappropriately assumed constitutionally granted authority. A fourth has expressed support for reducing the authority of state courts in this area.
However, the Supreme Court has never cited the so-called doctrine of the autonomous state legislature. However, three conservatives referenced it in a separate ruling in the Bush v. Gore case that decided the 2000 presidential election.
Opponents of the notion claim that if the court were to accept it now, the ramifications would be considerably larger than merely redistricting.
According to the Brennan Center for Justice at the New York University School of Law, the most favorable ruling for North Carolina Republicans could undermine more than 170 state constitutional provisions, over 650 state laws delegating authority to make election policies to state and local officials, and thousands of regulations down to the location of polling places.
Luttig, who advised former Vice President Mike Pence that he lacked the authority to reject electoral votes after the 2020 election, is among a group of prominent conservatives and Republicans who oppose the broad claim that legislatures cannot be challenged in state courts when they make decisions regarding federal elections, including congressional redistricting.
This group includes former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, legal professor Steven Calabresi, a founder of the conservative Federalist Society, and veteran Republican candidate and party attorney Benjamin Ginsberg.
More on this story via The Western Journal:
“Unfortunately, because of ongoing and widespread efforts to sow distrust and spread disinformation, confidence in our elections is at a low ebb,” Ginsberg wrote in a Supreme Court filing. “The version of the independent state legislature theory advanced by Petitioners in this case threatens to make a bad situation much worse, exacerbating the current moment of political polarization and further undermining confidence in our elections.” CONTINUE READING…