At stake is the “independent state legislature theory,” which holds that the US Constitution grants state legislators exclusive authority to structure federal elections, subject solely to congressional intervention. That’s true, say those in favor of the theory, even if those plans result in extreme partisan ballot maps for congressional seats and violate voter protections enshrined in state constitutions.
The Supreme Court heard arguments in the North Carolina case in December.
The Supreme Court seems wary of the massive change of the electoral authority
Analysts said the map created by the Republican-led North Carolina legislature after the 2020 Census would have given the GOP an advantage in 10 of 14 congressional districts. The state Supreme Court, which elected justices and at the time had a Democratic majority, threw out the map, saying the districts had a partisan bias “unexplained by North Carolina’s political geography” and violated the state’s constitutional right to elections. fair. .
Under the new map imposed by the state Supreme Court for the 2022 election, the state’s congressional delegation is evenly split.
But those elections also ushered in a changed state Supreme Court, now controlled by Republicans. Those judges agreed to a new hearing in the underlying case, which is scheduled for March 14. The decision was controversial because no facts in the case had changed, only the composition of the court.
Lawyers in the case do not believe the new hearing in North Carolina necessarily affects the deliberations of the US Supreme Court. But the judges could find that if the North Carolina court reversed its decision, the question in Moore v. harpists could be debatable.
The US Supreme Court has asked the parties in the case to file new briefs by March 20 on the effects “of the February 3, 2023 North Carolina Supreme Court order granting new hearing and any subsequent state court proceedings.”
In oral arguments in December, most US judges seemed reluctant to conclude that state courts should be excluded from reviewing legislative decisions on redistricting. But some judges seemed open to federal judicial oversight of those decisions when courts overstep their bounds.