The just-concluded Supreme Court term was momentous, but the next one could be as or more important. On Thursday, the very last day of this term, the Court granted review in the most potentially significant case they’ll hear, one arising from a Congressional districting dispute—but with impacts far beyond its specifics.
In Moore v. Harper, Republican loyalists challenge the decision of the North Carolina Supreme Court to invalidate (and replace) congressional district lines drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled legislature, after that court found that the legislature violated the state constitution’s prohibitions on excessive partisanship in district-line-drawing. The case is important enough on its own because partisan gerrymandering of the U.S. House of Representatives is itself a huge issue. But the case is much more important still because of the so-called “Independent-State-Legislature” (ISL) theory, which the Republicans are using to challenge the North Carolina Supreme Court’s actions. If embraced by the Justices, the ISL notion could be used to seriously undermine the 2024 election.
The ISL theory, the modern resurrection of which emanates primarily from the musings of three concurring Justices in the (in)famous Bush v. Gore ruling in 2000, posits that because the U.S. Constitution refers to state legislatures in connection with the regulation of congressional (in Article I) and presidential (in Article II) contests, those legislatures are free from state-court enforcement of state-constitutional limits when regulating federal elections.
Read more: Why Liberal Justices Need to Start Thinking…