Scheduled for argument in December, Moore v. Harper concerns the ability of state courts to enforce state constitutions and state laws in elections. Many are sounding the alarm that the decision could have a monumental effect on elections for years to come.
In the case Moore v. Harper, the U.S. Supreme Court will not only examine congressional redistricting in North Carolina — it will also be examining a far-right legal idea known as the independent state legislature doctrine. In its most severe form, the ISL, also known as ISLT, argues that only state legislatures should govern elections at the state level.
Former Secretary of State and First Lady Hilary Clinton attempted to warn the American people of the possible consequences back in October. Watch below:
Moore v. Harper decision could 'have catastrophic effects for democracy' | RawStory.TVMoore v. Harper decision could 'have catastrophic effects for democracy' | RawStory.TV
The issue in Moore v. Harper is whether the Constitution gives state legislatures the exclusive power to determine the “manner” of congressional elections, unconstrained by state constitutions. Under the independent state legislature theory advanced by North Carolina Republican legislators and their conservative allies, it does.
Because state constitutions often provide greater protection of voting rights and stronger safeguards against gerrymandering and other insidious practices than the federal Constitution does, a decision by the court removing those protections would do real damage to democracy.
This case is about gerrymandered congressional districts, but the Constitution uses the same phrase about the “manner” of appointing electors in presidential elections. So, after the unprecedented attempts at legal manipulation of the presidential election of 2020, it’s natural to wonder what the theory might mean for 2024.
If the Supreme Court were to accept the independent state legislature theory, it would seem that no court could ever review laws regulating elections for Congress, no matter how egregiously unconstitutional. It would mean, for example, that no court could review partisan gerrymandering, no matter how extreme.