Newsline , Society

Redistricting Goes to SCOTUS

Posted on Wednesday, December 7, 2022
by Outside Contributor

The U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday morning on whether the North Carolina Supreme Court exceeded their authority under the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause when it struck down the state’s enacted congressional plan and replaced it with a court-devised plan. The case, Moore v. Harper, has generated significant controversy and pushback from the left based on inaccurate depictions of the issues involved and the potential impact of the Court’s eventual ruling.

Moore involves the Independent State Legislature (ISL) doctrine and the federal Elections Clause which explicitly vests state legislatures, not state courts, with the primary responsibility to set rules for federal elections, including the establishment of congressional district boundaries. The North Carolina legislature is arguing that the ISL doctrine prohibits a state’s judicial branch from rejecting and replacing electoral rules established by the legislature with ones of the court’s own design based on inexplicit or vague state constitutional provisions.

The potential implications of this case, while significant, are nowhere near as sweeping or disastrous for U.S. democracy as most Democrats and media outlets have made them out to be. In reality, a victory for North Carolina in Moore would likely be far more limited. It would reaffirm the founders’ intent for state legislatures to regulate federal elections and reign in politically motivated state judges from hijacking those processes through dubious assertions of constitutional authority.

NRRT has taken the position that the North Carolina Supreme Court violated the Elections Clause by weaponizing state constitutional provisions unrelated to redistricting to impose their own redistricting requirements and plan. NRRT filed an amicus brief in support of North Carolina’s request for a stay and another in support of North Carolina on the merits.

A decision from SCOTUS is not expected until early 2023.

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