According to legal analyst Shan Wu, the Supreme Court will hear oral arguments on Wednesday that could lead to a ruling that would create chaos for decades and throw future elections into turmoil on a state-by-state basis.
At issue is Moore v. Harper, which could set the stage for the implementation of the “Independent State Legislature Theory” that would have a wide-ranging impact on federal elections by allowing state legislatures to manipulate voting districts even more than they are doing so now.
According to Wu, "Proponents of the 'ISLT'–Independent State Legislature Theory–believe that the U.S. Constitution bestows unreviewable power upon state legislatures to determine how congressional elections–and by extension Presidential elections–are conducted," adding, "Its proponents claim that the 'Elections Clause' of the U.S. Constitution, which states that state legislatures shall prescribe the 'Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives,' means no court can review any actions taken by a state legislatures with regards to voting in the state."
The legal analyst points out that the latest case "is about gerrymandering–the practice of redrawing Congressional districts to favor one party-and arises from the North Carolina Supreme Court’s decision to strike down its Republican state legislature plan to grossly manipulate the state’s congressional districts in favor of Republicans as being unconstitutional under the North Carolina state constitution."
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Calling the decision to hear the case "alarming," Wu explained that, although similar cases have been batted down by previous courts, the current iteration of the Supreme Court may be more willing to overturn precedent in much the same way it did by gutting Roe v. Wade last session.
"Interest on the part of conservative SCOTUS justices in using ISLT to help Republican outcomes was seen in the 2000 Bush v. Gore case, where then Chief Justice Rehnquist’s concurring opinion referenced ISLT in saying that another reason to stop the Florida Supreme Court from ordering a state-wide manual recount–which might have given the Presidency to Al Gore–was because the Florida Supreme Court was violating the Elections Clause," he explained.
"In Mary Shelley’s 1818 novel, Frankenstein, a young scientist, Dr. Victor Frankenstein, discovers a method by which he can resurrect life from the dead and creates his own monster. As we all know, the monster becomes uncontrollable and ultimately turns upon its creator. Dr. Frankenstein’s motivation is never made explicit by the author, but he appears to do it because he can," he wrote. "SCOTUS, an institution which has now managed to lose the trust of the majority of Americans might do well to remember this tale about what destruction can be wrought by the unchecked use of power."
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