District redrawing played a role in the recent midterm elections, and questions regarding how districts may be changed as well as other problems may soon begin to define the rights of each state with regard to federal elections. Some districts in the United States have expanded and require realignment, but gerrymandering, or changing the borders of a constituency to favor one party, is a worry.
The closely-watched election in North Carolina is currently being litigated before the U.S. Supreme Court. Legislative leaders in North Carolina are appealing the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to invalidate the state’s congressional map, arguing that only the legislature has the authority to establish such regulations. They also want more control in drafting the state’s district borders.
“Conservative Supreme Court justices appeared skeptical Wednesday about a state court’s decision to strike down Republican-drawn congressional districts in North Carolina, but it seemed unlikely a majority would embrace a broad theory that could upend election law nationwide. The appeal brought by North Carolina Republicans asks the court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, to embrace a hitherto obscure legal argument called the “independent state legislature” theory, which could strip state courts of the power to strike down certain election laws enacted by state legislatures,” NBC News reported.
The independent state legislature argument hinges on language in the Constitution that says election rules ‘shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.’ Supporters of the theory, which has never been endorsed by the Supreme Court, say the language supports the notion that, when it comes to federal election rules, legislatures have ultimate power under state law, potentially irrespective of potential constraints imposed by state constitutions,” the outlet added.
“Backed by Republican leaders at the N.C. General Assembly, the crux of the argument is that they and all other state legislators should have much broader power to write election laws, with courts mostly not allowed to stop them by ruling their actions unconstitutional. They’ve been tight-lipped about the case since filing it this spring, mostly preferring to avoid commenting on it to reporters and instead doing their talking through legal briefs,” the Herland-Sun reported.
“Beyond redistricting the case also has the potential to change how North Carolina and the 49 other states handle everything from early voting and mail-in ballots rules to voter ID, recounts, post-election audits, and anything else that could possibly affect an election,” the outlet added.
The Herland-Sun reported:
In recent years under Republican leadership at the General Assembly — and a Democratic majority at the N.C. Supreme Court — a number of political lawsuits have led to state-level cases with huge implications for how elections are conducted.
These include gerrymandering cases decided in 2019 and 2022, as well as lawsuits challenging the legislature’s ability to amend the constitution to require voter identification and a ban on ex-felons voting after their release from prison. All of these cases have resulted in rulings against the legislature. More challenges are ongoing, including another one over voter ID and one promoting a state-level version of the same legal argument that’s soon to be addressed at the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Moore v. Harper is predicated on who has the constitutional authority to set election policy – seven state Supreme Court justices or 170 state legislators,” Lauren Horsch, a spokeswoman for Berger, said in an email. “The U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause is clear that it’s the state legislatures, but recently state courts have taken it upon themselves to set election policy. In North Carolina, we have a state Supreme Court that has become a legislative body.”
More on this story via The Republic Brief:
Democrats are out in full force pushing their usual talking points by claiming it could “end democracy.” Eric Holder, a Democrat and former U.S. attorney general under Barack Obama, said it “should keep every American up at night.” CONTINUE READING…