Last week, the Supreme Court announced it would hear arguments in Moore v. Harper, a challenge to North Carolina’s new congressional map.
The long and short of the case is that North Carolina Republicans proposed a gerrymander so egregious that the state Supreme Court ruled that it violated the state’s Constitution. Republicans sought to restore the legislative map, citing the “independent state legislature doctrine,” which asserts that state legislatures have almost absolute power to set their own rules for federal elections. Once passed into law, then, those rules cannot be overturned — or even reviewed — by state courts.
A Republican victory at the Supreme Court would, according to the election law expert Rick Hasen, “radically alter the power of state courts to rein in state legislatures that violate voting rights in federal elections. It could essentially neuter the ability of state courts to protect voters under provisions of state constitutions against infringement of their rights.”