U.S. Supreme Court will hear North Carolina redistricting case on Wednesday
WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - The U.S. Supreme Court is hearing a case out of North Carolina on Wednesday. Congressional maps, tossed out by state courts for partisan gerrymandering, are under the microscope. The repercussions of this case may go well beyond just North Carolina though, and impact how much power state legislatures have to manage federal elections.
Moore v. Harper started as a case about partisan gerrymandering. At the U.S. Supreme Court this case will focus on part of the Constitution called the Elections Clause, which says, “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof;”
The two sides in this case each argue that “Legislature” refers to different things. The respondents say it means the state’s government as a whole, while petitioner say it just means the elected lawmakers in each state’s statehouse.
Kathay Feng from Common Cause, one of the groups leading the respondents, said, “It’s so much bigger than just the conversation about redistricting or gerrymandering.”
The nonpartisan group that sued over maps drawn by North Carolina republican state lawmakers.
Feng said, “Ultimately the state supreme court agreed with us and redrew those lines so they would be fair to all voters.”
North Carolina Republican House Speaker Tim Moore is the leading petitioner and is asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn the state supreme court’s decision to redraw temporary maps.
Moore said, “The state courts have... been given authority to weigh in on state elections and on state redistricting, but not on federal redistricting.”
Moore said the state court is stepping on the Constitution’s Elections Clause.
Feng and liberal groups who have filed briefs say if the U.S. Supreme Court sides with Moore in this case that it could potentially set precedent giving state legislatures near complete power to regulate federal elections, and immunity from state courts checks.
Moore countered, “Our argument is to simply affirm what has been the law for decades and decades. It’s the left, it’s Common Cause, these folks who simply want to try and use these courts to get around the will of the voters.”
Each side is seeing support from idealogical allies.
But some Republicans are also breaking with Moore’s argument.
In a filing from more than a dozen former republican officials they wrote that it, “...Would frustrate constitutional values and achieve none of its purported goals: it contradicts constitutional text and history, runs counter to longstanding practice, and would wreak unparalleled havoc on the electoral landscape.”
The Supreme Court will hear the case on Wednesday morning.
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