The Supreme Court Tackles Election Law Case

The Supreme Court Tackles Election Law Case

( – The Supreme Court is grappling with a new election law case that’s dividing legal opinion. The issue is whether state legislatures should have sole control over redistricting or whether the courts should have a role too. The Supreme Court is discussing an appeal from North Carolina, but it could have national implications.

On December 7, the US Supreme Court held a three-hour oral argument session in Moore v Harper, a dispute between North Carolina’s GOP-majority state legislature and Democrat-dominated state supreme court over who has the authority to draw up redistricting maps. The court says the map produced by the legislature was unconstitutional; the legislature says that Article 1 of the US Constitution gives state legislatures the power to decide how legislators are elected.

Although the Constitution does say state legislatures can determine when, where, and how states hold elections, as evidenced in the tweet below, the Supreme Court seems to be looking for a compromise solution that will leave some role for state courts to maintain the balance of power.

The NC legislature is arguing that Article 1 of the US Constitution overrides voter laws written into state constitutions. Therefore, state courts have no power to interfere in redistricting. Many Republicans hope this interpretation would allow the GOP to create more favorable election maps. Three Justices — Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch — seem to be leaning toward that interpretation. The court’s three liberal members, of course, are against it. Yet, Chief Justice John Roberts, along with Justices Amy Coney Barrett and Brett Kavanaugh, have all asked questions suggesting they’re interested in a compromise. Whatever the court decides, it will have a big influence on future elections.

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