How Moore v. Harper at the Supreme Court could become moot : NPR

A protester holds up a sign that reads “GET UP OUR STATE COURT!” during a demonstration in December 2022 in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC

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Andrew Harnik/AP

A protester holds up a sign that reads “GET UP OUR STATE COURT!” during a demonstration in December 2022 in front of the US Supreme Court in Washington, DC

Andrew Harnik/AP

An unusual move by North Carolina’s highest court has raised questions about whether the U.S. Supreme Court will end up dismissing a major election lawsuit over a one-time theory that could overturn laws. national federal election or not.

Last weekend, the North Carolina Supreme Court – where Republican judges recently won a majority after last year’s election – grant a request from GOP state legislators to review the case, at the state level, regarding voting maps for both congressional and state legislative districts.

And depending on how and when the state court lays out regulations on the congressional map following a hearing scheduled for March 14, the legal path forward for the case is closely watched. This rigor in the U.S. Supreme Court can get messy.

Election watchers have been keeping an eye on this case – known in the US Supreme Court as Moore sues Harper — because it could have far-reaching effects on upcoming federal elections. At its heart is the widely controversial idea known as “the independent state legislature theory.” It claims the US Constitution gives state legislatures a special kind of power to determine how federal elections should be held without any checks or balances from the constitution. state or state court.

Republican state legislators used that theory to justify arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court that the North Carolina Supreme Court, which had previously had a Democratic majority, had exceeded its jurisdiction. rights by knocking down a map of constituencies approved by the legislature for violating North Carolina’s constitution.

The fact that the North Carolina Supreme Court agreed to a retrial of the case opened up the possibility that the state court’s February 2022 decision on the map approved by the legislature could be overturned.

That kind of reversal can make the case controversial by resolving the legal dispute, which may then no longer require review by the U.S. Supreme Court.

But the highest court of the country, which listen to oral arguments in this case in December, it is still possible to continue with its own ruling in this case at the end of June, when its current term is coming to an end, said Carolyn Shapiro, law professor and co-director of the Institute Law of the University of Chicago-Kent said. Supreme Court of the United States.

“It’s a matter of time. Even if the North Carolina Supreme Court eventually says the earlier opinion was a mistake, if they do it later [U.S.] The Supreme Court provided in Moore sues HarperI don’t think it matters,” Shapiro explained. “It’s a bit of a cockfight.”

And if the state court issues a new decision that reverses an earlier ruling before the U.S. Supreme Court made the rules, Shapiro said there could be an argument for the high court to consider the mandate. this period during major federal elections.

“In other types of cases, I think the Supreme Court of the United States will probably wait and see what the state courts do. But since this case has important implications for how elections will play out in the future. future, there should be good reasons for the U.S. Supreme Court to decide now,” Shapiro added.

Another layer of complexity could be introduced by how Republican North Carolina state legislators and their challengers responded to the new state court ruling.

‘State court election issue’

Robert Yablon, an associate professor of law who helps lead the University of Wisconsin, explains that overturning state court rulings could happen after the North Carolina Supreme Court’s retrial of the case. This may become more common in other parts of the country. Law School’s State Democratic Research Initiative.

“As state supreme courts around the country are increasingly asked to deal with hot-button issues, we are likely to see more of these requests, and we are likely to see more academic changes,” says Yablon. more theoretical in ways that we don’t see much of. in the Supreme Court of the United States, where you don’t get as much change as you sometimes see in state courts.”

It’s a reminder, Yablon added, that “state court elections are important.”

In an opinion that disagrees with the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision last week to rehear both this case and another person has invalidated the state’s voter ID requirementsThe court’s two Democratic judges noted that “in a single day, a majority approved more petitions for retrial than in more than twenty years.”

Judge Anita Earls wrote in comments attended by Judge Michael Morgan, “the public’s trust in the state courts,” “depends on the fragile belief that our laws will not change in the direction of each election. However, it took only a month for this Court to send a smoke signal to the public that our decisions are fleeting, and that our precedent is only as valid as the terms of the statutes. the judge is on the bench.”

Regardless of how this North Carolina case plays out in state court, the independent state legislature theory will likely continue to revolve around the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.

Many people who watched the trial took note difficulty answering all legal questions Controversial theories arose through this North Carolina case.

Republican state legislators from Ohio have begun another theoretical redistribution case that is currently waiting for the judges to decide whether to continue.

Edited by: Benjamin Swasey


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