The Supreme Court sought guidance by addressing the parties in Moore vs. harpera landmark election law case to explain what he should do about the case now that the North Carolina Supreme Court is rehearing the main redistricting dispute.
Six responses were received, many of which went in a slightly different direction. Two diametrically opposed parties, however, persistently urged the court to continue consideration of the case.
The case centers on county maps passed by the North Carolina legislature, which the state Supreme Court ruled last year were brutally rigged in favor of the Republicans. Republican legislators based some of their arguments on Independent State Legislature Theory (ISLT), an idea from the right-wing legal world that only state legislatures—excluding state courts, constitutions, and governors—can control federal elections. in their states, including the compilation of congressional maps. Thus, these legislators say, we can draw lines as we please without limiting our power. Experts warn that if the Supreme Court agreed with this argument, it could have far-reaching implications for how American elections are conducted.
With the 2022 midterm elections, an influx of right-wing judges came to the bench in North Carolina who agreed to declare Republicans’ long-term bid for the court to rule. rehearse case. The decision was as unprecedented as it was overtly political: Republican judges now have the votes to overturn a year-old state court ruling and clear the way for Republican lawmakers to pass a map twisted to their liking. The right-wing judges appeared to be very accommodating to overturn the court’s own ruling that knocked the cards in last week’s oral argument. Notably, ISLT was not upgraded.
All this has put the Supreme Court, which has already received a briefing and oral arguments in the case, in a difficult position. Earlier this month, he asked the parties to submit briefings on whether he has jurisdiction over the case.
Both sides argue that the Court still has jurisdiction over the case and must make a decision upholding or revoking the ISLT, based on sharply opposed poles.
One of them, not surprisingly, is Speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives Timothy Moore (right). North Carolina Lawmakers Could Potentially Greenlight Gerrymander’s Cards another a Supreme Court decision giving them unlimited power over the federal election commission in their state. Good deal for him.
The other, oddly enough, is Common Cause, a good group of left-wing government oversight. But this group argues that the Court should decide now for a very different motive.
“This court should not wait for this matter to be brought before it on an emergency basis ahead of the 2024 election cycle,” Common Cause lawyers wrote. “The presented question is fully stated, carefully argued and ready for decision. This court is the only forum that can definitely address this issue and provide guidance to state legislatures and state courts across the country.”
Experts raised similar concerns about TPM immediately after the North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to a retrial: ISLT will not go away. And all things considered, they argued it was better to get that decision now than in some nightmare 2024 scenario where it all comes down to one or two states and a Supreme Court decision that could determine the winner.
The positions of the other parties Mooreas it was said on Monday, can be grouped into buckets.
First, the Supreme Court never had jurisdiction over this case and still does not. Lawyers for some of the defendants, represented by the firm of Democratic election attorney Mark Elias, took that stance, but added that if the court truly felt the need to go to the ISLT, it should reject it.
“To the extent that the Court is concerned that disputes under the election clause will ‘continue to arise until the Court finally decides’ the matter … so it is inclined to rule here, it should do so only in order to finally — and finally — completely reject the Independent State Legislation Theory,” the lawyers wrote.
The League of Conservation Voters of North Carolina agreed, arguing that the Supreme Court was wrongfully interfering at all as the state court proceeded; the group specifically pointed out that the North Carolina Supreme Court had not made a final decision on which congressional card should be used in future elections.
The second position taken by the US Department of Justice and the North Carolina Department of Justice is that the Court has no jurisdiction given the actions of the North Carolina Supreme Court.
The deputy attorney general of North Carolina first argued that the state’s case had not yet been completed, so a higher court could not intervene. (The North Carolina Department of Justice is headed by a Democratic Attorney General and is at odds with a Republican-majority legislature.)
U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said the North Carolina Court is likely to debate a central issue that the Supreme Court would be interested in deciding: whether, given the ISLT’s arguments, state courts are allowed to enforce state law in processes such as redistricting. .
If the Supreme Court of North Carolina reverses its previous decision and finds that the Constitution of North Carolina is effectively admissible partisan machinations, the question of whether a state court can play a role in enforcing statutory standards ceases to exist. There would be nothing to impose.
Prelogar took a noticeably soft tone, stating that the case was new and unprecedented and that the judges might not agree with the government’s position.
“We do not believe that these arguments justify the continued exercise of jurisdiction in the circumstances presented here,” she wrote. “But we acknowledge that no precedent directly regulates this issue and that the court could reasonably have reached a different conclusion.”
Now the Supreme Court will have to decide whether the moment has come when it accepts or rejects the dangerous ISLT, which could significantly undermine the US elections.