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Democrats are screaming their same, tired line claiming a North Carolina elections case could “end democracy.”
In February, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the Republican-drawn congressional district maps.
The Republican Speaker of the State’s House of Representatives, Tim Moore, decided to fight back. He and his allies took action citing the “independent state legislature” theory to challenge the state court ruling.
Moore does not believe that the state court ruling was based on law or precedent.
He said, “This ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court was one more ruling that many of us believed just went beyond the pale of anything we had seen a state court do and really was just a political ruling.”
The North Carolina Supreme Court called the 14 congressional districts which were drawn by the Republican-controlled legislature “unlawful partisan gerrymanders.”
The independent state legislature theory states that state legislatures have the final say over election laws which can shield their actions from state courts.
This argument comes from language in the Constitution that says election rules “shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof.”
According to NBC News:
“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.”
“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,” the Herald-Sun reported.
“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 news organization added.
Michael Luttig, a retired federal judge, recently called the case “the single most important case on American democracy” of the last 250 years.
Some of the justices seemed supportive of the theory following a three-hour oral argument session.
Justice Alito brought up the idea that maybe state court judges have too much power over decisions relating to redistricting.
The more skeptical justices feel that the proposal eliminates the checks and balances on the way decisions are made in the U.S.
The ruling on the case is expected early next year.