SCOTUS Likely to Take up “States Power to Regulate Elections”

Joe Ravi

The Supreme Court is poised to take up a new election law case that Republicans hope will recognize the overarching authority the Constitution granted the states in setting the rules for redistricting and congressional and presidential elections.

“The U.S. Constitution is crystal clear: state legislatures are responsible for drawing congressional maps, not state court judges, and certainly not with the aid of partisan political operatives,” Tim Moore, the Republican speaker of the North Carolina House of Representatives, said in March. His comment came after he launched an appeal of his state Supreme Court’s order redrawing the state’s electoral map against the wishes of the state’s GOP-majority legislature, according to The Epoch Times.

The case of Moore v. Harper was filed on March 17 after the Supreme Court of North Carolina required the state to redraw its existing congressional district maps for the 2022 primary and general elections. The respondent, Rebecca Harper, is one of 25 North Carolina voters involved in the case.

“It’s time to settle the elections clause once and for all,” Moore said.

The high court was scheduled to consider the petition on June 16. The next scheduled announcement of decisions on pending petitions is June 21. For a petition to be granted, at least four of the nine justices must agree.

Republicans emphasize the Constitution directly empowering the state’s legislatures to make the rules and conduct elections, state and presidential. However, the SCOUTS have never invoked the so-called Independent State Legislature Doctrine.

The elections clause in Article 1 states: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

The clause on presidential electors in Article 2 states: “Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress.”

According to the Epoch Times, four justices have indicated an interest in ruling on the doctrine. In contrast, three others cite Bush v. Gore, the case that resolved the disputed 2000 presidential election as to where the “doctrine” applied.

It is unclear when the opinion will be issued as the high court is working through a backlog of 18 opinions before they break for the summer.