The Supreme Court can't escape the 2020 presidential race and is already involved in 2024 politics
September 20, 2022 at 11:02
CNN —An obscure legal theory promoted by allies of former President Donald Trump during the effort to overturn the 2020 presidential election will soon have its day before the Supreme Court.
“This case could unsettle almost every aspect of federal election administration,” Allison Riggs, chief counsel for voting rights for the Southern Coalition for Social Justice, said in an interview.
Arguments will likely occur in November or December and many Republicans – who have controlled the majority of state legislatures since 2010 – are delighted that the conservative-leaning Supreme Court will wade into the issue.
Republican legislators from North Carolina are asking the justices to reverse the lower court and adopt a legal theory called the independent state legislature doctrine.
They point to the Elections Clause of the Constitution that provides that rules governing the “manner of elections” must be prescribed in each state legislature.
Processes set in place have been subject to intervention by election administrators and state courts.
But the strictest reading of the independent state legislature theory says that state courts, when it comes to federal elections, must stay out.
The majority of the North Carolina state Supreme Court, in ruling against the lawmakers, said that legislators do not have unlimited power to draw electoral maps.
Muller says there are other barriers based on federal law and the federal constitution that prevent a state legislature from ignoring a popular vote.
Torchinsky also resists the notion that state courts will no longer have any role if the US Supreme Court were to adopt the independent state legislature doctrine.
“In the redistricting context, state courts can play a role when there is an express authorization in the state constitution or the state statute, or when there is a deadlock when the political branches can’t agree,” he said.
“The Elections Clause does not bar state court review of state laws governing federal elections under state constitutional provisions,” Carter Phillips, a lawyer for the group, wrote.