Supreme Court Case May Give Election Rights Back To States

( The US Supreme Court is expected to announce whether or not it will hear a North Carolina case that Republicans believe will reaffirm the constitutional authority of state legislatures to set the rules for redistricting, and elections while curbing the power of state courts to intervene.

In the case Moore v. Harper, the Supreme Court turned away a petition to stay a February 14 ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court that required the state to modify its congressional redistricting.

In March, North Carolina Republican speaker of the House, Tim Moore launched an appeal against the NC Supreme Court order redrawing the state’s electoral map against the wishes of the Republican-led legislature. At the time, Moore asserted that the Constitution makes it clear that state legislatures, not state judges, are responsible for drawing congressional maps.

The Supreme Court was expected to decide on Tuesday whether or not to hear the case, but no decision was forthcoming as yet. For a petition to be granted, a minimum of four justices must agree.

Republicans argue that the Constitution specifically empowers state legislatures to determine the rules for conducting elections. But as yet, the Supreme Court has never invoked this “Independent State Legislature Doctrine.”

Article One of the Constitution notes that the time, place, and manner of elections for Senators and Representatives is prescribed in each state by the legislature. Likewise, Article Two outlines that in presidential elections, the legislature directs the number of presidential electors.

Four of the conservative justices are on record expressing an interest in ruling on the Independent State Legislature Doctrine which has made left-wing election lawyers dismayed.

UC Irvine law professor Rick Hasen told the Associated Press that a Supreme Court ruling endorsing this doctrine could grant state legislatures “even more power to curtail voting rights” and pave the way for litigation to “subvert the election outcomes” against the will of the people.

The Court still has multiple decisions to release from the current term which ends next week. It is unclear when the court will decide whether or not it will hear Moore v. Harper.