The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a Republican attempt to radically reform the way elections are run across the country, giving state legislatures virtually unchecked power to redraw congressional maps and enforce election guidelines.
The justices voted 6-3 to uphold the North Carolina Supreme Court’s resolution, saying it did not exceed its authority in passing a brand new congressional district map as too partisan.
Republican lawmakers essentially asked for the nation’s highest courtroom to give state legislatures the ultimate power in federal elections that is not exercised by state courts.
In his majority opinion, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “State courts retain the authority to apply state constitutional restrictions when the legislature is acting in accordance with the authority granted to them by the Elections Clause.”
“But the federal courts must not abdicate their task of judicial review.”
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a Republican attempt to radically reform the way elections are run across the country, giving state legislatures virtually unchecked power to redraw congressional maps and enforce election guidelines. It came from a case in North Carolina where Republicans were accused of fraud
The justices voted 6-3 to uphold the North Carolina Supreme Court’s resolution, saying it did not overstep its authority in rendering the congressional district map partisan.
Another ruling may have key penalties for the 2024 election.
And it comes at a time when partisan lawmakers in state elections are under scrutiny for the way former President Donald Trump and his allies tried to sway the 2020 results and influence the 2022 midterm elections.
Former President Barack Obama applauded the selection.
“This ruling rejects the far-right theory that threatened to undermine our democracy and makes clear that the courts can continue to uphold voter rights – in North Carolina and in every state,” he tweeted.
The case before the Supreme Court was based mainly on the “independent legislature”. It is based on a strict study of the constitutional clause which states: “The time, place, and manner of holding elections for senators and representatives in each state shall be determined by the legislature thereof.”
Supporters say that means courts, governors or impartial commissions can’t interfere with the legislature’s powers over elections, even if lawmakers draw electoral maps or violate safeguards in state constitutions.
Four of the Supreme Court justices have issued opinions that show some support for the controversial principle.
In North Carolina, the state Supreme Court struck down a map proposed by Republicans in February last year.
Former President Barack Obama welcomed Tuesday’s Supreme Court ruling
North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore talks to reporters outside the U.S. Supreme Court after taking part in oral arguments on December 7, 2022.
Out of 14 congressional districts, the GOP would have carried all three.
The Supreme Court of the Tar Heel State voted 4 to 3, while holding that the card was “undoubtedly unconstitutional” in its favor.
“Achieving party favors inconsistent with a political party’s level of statewide voter support is neither a compelling nor a legitimate government interest,” the courtroom ruled.
Instead, the midterm elections have been held on a court-drawn map designed to distribute aid evenly.
Republican leaders in the Legislature took the case to court in December, arguing that the state Supreme Court had overstepped its authority.
At the time, Rick Hassen, a professor of regulatory affairs at the University of California, told the Associated Press that “this case could fundamentally change the balance of power in the states and prevent state courts and agencies from protecting people’s voting rights.”
“The court can decide on this in different ways. Taken to the extreme, it would be a radical overhaul of our electoral system,” he said.