Supreme Court Hears Moore v Harper

Supreme Court Hears Moore v Harper

( – The Supreme Court has started work on a case that could reshape the US electoral map. On Wednesday, Justices began hearing oral arguments in Moore v. Harper, an appeal by the North Carolina state legislature against a state court ruling on redistricting. Now they have to navigate a path between two partisan positions.

In February, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled the state legislature gerrymandered redistricting maps drawn up after the state gained an extra House seat from the 2020 census to give Republicans an electoral advantage. The US Supreme Court is now hearing the North Carolina State Legislature’s appeal against that ruling, known as Moore v. Harper. The legislature is arguing the US Constitution gives lawmakers absolute power over elections, with courts having little or no ability to intervene — a legal idea known as the Independent State Legislature (ISL) theory.

If the Supreme Court rules in favor of ISL, lower courts will lose their ability to throw out redistricting maps. However, this would be controversial as it would weaken the checks and balances that form a key part of the US political system. The Supreme Court’s three liberal Justices — Ketanji Brown Jackson, Sonia Sotomayer, and Elena Kagan — are all opposed to ISL. Conservatives Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch appear supportive.

The case outcome will depend on Justices Brett Kavanaugh, Amy Coney Barrett, and Chief Justice John Roberts, who look like they’re searching for a compromise that would leave state courts with a role, but with federal courts able to exercise oversight if there’s a dispute. This case seems obscure, but it could make a huge difference in future elections.

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