The U.S. Supreme Court is considering taking up a significant election case involving North Carolina that, regardless of its outcome, will have a significant impact on the 2024 election.
The case centers on a constitutional theory referred to as the "independent state legislature theory," according to a report by The Conservative Brief. State legislatures, not state courts or governors, have considerable control over the administration of federal elections within their respective states, according to proponents.
The Supreme Court is presently considering Moore v. Harper, a case that specifically addresses the theory despite concerns that exist that the court may not reach a comprehensive decision on the issue prior to the 2024 elections.
Jimmy Hoover of Law.com asserted that the case involves the appeal of the now-vacated ruling by the North Carolina Supreme Court which struck down the state’s new congressional map, calling it illegal partisan gerrymander.
The Court is reviewing whether Harper I violated the elections provision of the U.S. Constitution. Republican state lawmakers who created the map contend that the elections clause provides the Legislature—not state courts—the ability to decide federal election laws.
Experts argue the controversial "independent state legislature" notion might change election law.
However, the federal government, North Carolina, and a group of voters requested the Supreme Court to dismiss Moore v. Harper as moot on Thursday. The new Republican majority on the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled on April 28 to remove "any live significance" from the case.
That court overturned Harper I and declared partisan gerrymandering "nonjusticiable" political problems.
In a supplemental brief Thursday, U.S. Solicitor General Elizabeth Prelogar said a Supreme Court finding on the "independent state legislature theory" would have "no effect" on rejected gerrymandering allegations.
Voters who filed to block the original map told the court that “there is no non-frivolous basis for jurisdiction here.” The North Carolina Department of Justice represented state election authorities as respondents.
Some respondents disagree. The "pro-democracy" group Common Cause requested the Supreme Court to consider Ball v. Harper. The organization intervened in a gerrymandering action.
If the Supreme Court turns down the North Carolina case, the judges might agree to hear a similar argument about how the congressional districts are drawn in Ohio. But Common Cause said on Thursday that "it is not clear that the Elections Clause question was preserved in that case."
Moore v. Harper would not be the first case that was argued to be dropped by the judges this year. On January 23, they said that the case In re Grand Jury, which was about the attorney-client privacy rule, was “improvidently granted.”
In December, when the case was being argued in court, Justice Elena Kagan said that the Republican lawmakers' claim that state judges can't look at federal election rules passed by state legislators made her uncomfortable.