Harvard Law experts walk through the next horrific decision the Supreme Court could hand down
Supreme Court justice Brett Kavanaugh. (AFP Photo/SAUL LOEB)

Harvard Law School Professor Laurence Tribe joined with former federal prosecutor Dennis Aftergut, who works for Lawyers Defending American Democracy, to pen a warning that Americans are about to lose more of their voting rights as the Supreme Court hands more power over to state legislatures.

Writing for the Los Angeles Times, Tribe and Aftergut explained that the announcement that the court will hear Moore v. Harper predicts another legal case that could restrict voting rights for Americans. Describing the conservative majority as "extremist justices," the two men explained the decision in the Moore case will likely stab "voters’ right to pick leaders of their choice."

The case is from North Carolina and deals with the gerrymandered congressional maps drawn by the Republican legislature. The maps would essentially carefully draw lines that hand the GOP control of 11 out of 14 districts.

"North Carolina’s Supreme Court rejected the maps because they violated the state Constitution in illegally favoring Republicans. While the Moore case involves legislative districts, how we choose presidents is in the court’s sights. More on that in a moment," the piece describes.

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But the Republicans demanded the Supreme Court adopt "a debunked right-wing doctrine" that claims partisan legislatures don't mean any harm when they draw district lines to keep their seats under the guise of the “independent state legislature." The legislators don't want the state courts to have any power in federal elections.

Justices Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh all signed on to the idea that courts can't decide the meaning of laws and apply them to situations based on Constitutional laws. Currently, the Constitution’s elections clause says that “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

As Tribe and Aftergut explained, in North Carolina, the legislature expressly the "manner" would "include the state's courts' final authority to overturn improper districting decisions. The state’s General Assembly has even detailed the findings courts must make, how and where such challenges must proceed, and the courts’ authority to impose an alternative map. Using the independent legislature idea to throw aside North Carolina’s election law would, therefore, violate the elections clause itself."

There are other states where the legislature hasn't assigned the courts such a role, however. So, the Supreme Court's likely decision in the Moore case, and in Toth v. Chapman, could "rip all 50 state legislatures from their moorings in the state constitutions that create those legislatures and limit their authority within three branches of state government."

The Supreme Court just made the decision that states have the rights to regulate the privacy and freedom of women, but in this case, the Court would effectively "commandeer states’ constitutions," the men wrote. It would kill the 10th Amendment's call that all other laws not specified by the Constitution are reserved "to the States respectively, or to the people.”

Hence, according to this baseless notion, state legislatures can do whatever they want in manipulating elections no matter how extreme the results — principles of voter equality and fairness be damned, along with the state’s constitution, its governor and its courts.

Read their full methodology in the Los Angeles Times editorial.