by Nicolas Ricardy
The U.S. Supreme Court agreed on Thursday to hear a case that dramatically changed the way Congress and the presidential election operate by delegating more power to state legislatures and preventing state courts from reviewing challenges to procedures and outcomes. may change.
Judges will consider whether state courts, upon finding violations of their state’s constitutions, can order changes to federal elections and order a decade-long rescheduling of congressional districts. The matter will probably be argued in the fall.
“This case could profoundly shift the balance of power in states and prevent state courts and agencies from providing protections for people’s right to vote,” said Rick Hassan, a law professor at the University of California, Irvine. “There are many ways the courts can rule this. Taken at its peak, this would be a radical overhaul of our system of running elections.”
In the most extreme example, the lawyers said, if the Supreme Court were to rule that no body other than state legislatures could set rules with respect to federal elections, which would require the governor to issue election bills or the state court separately. may prevent the blocking of the rules that establish voting. hours in urban and rural areas.
Jason Torchinsky, a Republican attorney who wrote a legal brief urging the high court to take the case, said it was absurd to think the Supreme Court would eventually allow it. He noted that as recently as 2015, the court agreed that legislatures do not have absolute power in elections, ruling that Arizona’s voter-approved redistribution commission is the only way for lawmakers to draw the district line. can take rights from
“I don’t think you can take this principle to the extent that ‘legislatures alone can do whatever they want,'” Torchinsky said. “The problem is we have these evil state courts.”
The case, an appeal by North Carolina Republicans, challenges a state court’s decision that excluded congressional districts drawn by the General Assembly, which appear to have placed GOP candidates in 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts. would be made a winner.
The Supreme Court has never ruled on what is known as the independent state legislature principle, but the court’s four conservative justices have expressed interest in taking on the subject. One of them, Justice Clarence Thomas, was among three judges who took it forward in the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election.
Only four out of nine judges are required to agree to hear a case. A final decision requires a majority of five.
The issue has cropped up repeatedly in the cases of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Democratic majorities in the states’ supreme courts have called for voting security in their state formations to thwart plans from Republican-dominated legislatures.
The case comes as state courts have become increasingly involved in redistribution, the result of a 2019 ruling in which the Supreme Court said that federal courts can no longer handle claims of illegal partisan gerrymandering.
Initially, in the cases of states like North Carolina and Pennsylvania, that hurt Republicans and helped Democrats. But courts in Democratic-dominated states, including Maryland and New York, threw off the map as a Democratic gerrymander, giving Republicans a slight edge at the end of a decade-long congressional redeployment process.
The High Court already has another significant redeployment case on its to-do list for the fall, a rethink on how to enact the Voting Rights Act to ensure marginalized groups have the chance to elect their preferred representatives. Majority-minority districts need to be prepared.
But the North Carolina case has implications far beyond the rediscovery, independent state legislative theory may also hold that state courts oversee legislatures over the selection of voters who vote Congress or even elect the President of the United States. Nothing can stop you from imposing restrictions.
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, who filed an appeal in the High Court, appreciated the news that the case would be heard. “This matter is important not only to electoral integrity in North Carolina, but has implications for the security of elections across the country,” Moore, a Republican, said in a statement.
Voting rights groups were furious.
“In a radical power grab, self-serving politicians want to defy the highest court in our state and impose illegal voting districts on the people of North Carolina,” said Bob Phillips of Common Cause, North Carolina, who Brought lawsuits that overturned the GOP. drawn maps. “We will continue to stand up for the people of our state and nation as this matter goes to the US Supreme Court. We have to stop this dangerous attack on our freedom to vote.
Associated Press writer Gary Robertson in Raleigh, North Carolina, contributed to this report.