The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday heard arguments in a closely watched case that many believe will have an impact on the 2024 election and beyond.
According to reports, the case involves redistricting in red-leaning North Carolina, and specifically, whether the Constitution gives state legislatures exclusive authority over state courts and other elected officials in determining congressional districts.
NBC News reported:
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.
At issue is Article 1, Sect. 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution, which states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”
NBC News added: “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.”
Noted the Herald-Sun, “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.”
“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 noted further.
Democrats are arguing that a favorable ruling for the North Carolina Republicans would “end democracy,” but GOP supporters counter that the Constitution would merely be upheld, thereby strengthening the system.