Supreme Court decision on NC elections case that could determine the future of our democracy expected soon

Supreme Court decision on NC elections case that could determine the future of our democracy expected soon

The Supreme Court of the United States heard arguments in the case of Moore v. Harper on Dec. 7, 2022, and their decision, which is expected to come by the end of June, could change elections forever in our state and across the country.

Local advocates and legal experts have underscored the implications the U.S. Supreme Court case rooted in North Carolina could have on voters and elections across the state and the U.S. 

For those wondering, the “Moore” in this case is none other than N.C. House Speaker Tim Moore, who has been in the news this week after he was sued for abusing his power for sexual favors with a married woman, breaking up a marriage in the process. As for the case, he and his fellow Republican legislative leaders argue that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures “exclusive authority” over elections. This is known as the “Independent State Legislature” theory, which many judicial experts have called a “fringe legal theory.”

The case essentially boils down to this:

“A handful of legislative colleagues are asking all nine justices at the Supreme Court to give them their absolute power to manipulate our elections, undermine our votes, and once again rig our maps,” stated J. Sailor Jones, associate director of Common Cause North Carolina, last December.

There are now questions about whether the Supreme Court will even rule on the case after the state Supreme Court decided to overrule its previous decision on a congressional redistricting lawsuit. That could result in the U.S. Supreme Court kicking the case back to the state without making a decision.

Having to rely on a conservative Supreme Court to save democracy is a scary position to be in, but if they don’t rule against Moore and the NCGOP, the state Supreme Court could give heavily partisan state Republican lawmakers even greater power to draw voting maps and run elections, while weakening the authority of state courts to keep those powers in check.

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Patrick Zarcone

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