The U.S. Supreme Court announced on Thursday that it would hear a case that may fundamentally alter the nation’s election laws next term.
The Justices announced their decision to consider Moore v. Harper, a case focusing on recently created voting district maps for North Carolina’s 14 seats in the upcoming U.S. House of Representatives, in the closing days of an acrimonious and contentious session.
Republican state legislators claim they seek to reinstate a map that North Carolina’s state courts invalidated because it gave Republican candidates an unfair advantage through partisan gerrymandering, in violation of many provisions of the state constitution.
Christopher Cooper, a political analyst and professor at Western Carolina University, said, “There has been a lot of attention on the Supreme Court and what their decisions mean for Americans—and I think more than anything else, the consistent through-line has been returning more and more power to the states.”
According to Cooper, depending on the court’s decision, this might have significant ramifications, particularly for states with a sizable proportion of right-wing legislatures.
Therefore, if it were to pass in North Carolina, Arizona, Wisconsin, and many other swing states with Republican-controlled legislatures, the courts would not act as a guard rail. The final decision would be made by the legislature, according to Cooper.
The North Carolina republican legislators argue in their appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court that the elections clause of the U.S. constitution gives state legislatures the authority to decide how Congressional elections are conducted, without any checks and balances from state constitutions or state courts.
The case may end up giving state legislatures more control over elections for Congress and the presidency and prohibiting state courts from hearing challenges to the results, depending on how the conservative-majority court rules.
Concerns about the case’s impact on our democracy are shared by several Republicans and Democrats. The January 6th select committee member and Republican Congressman Adam Kinzinger responded to the news on Twitter by writing, “After the attempted coup this cannot happen.”
“If the President and Congress do not constrain the court now, the court is warning they will come for the next presidential election,” warned Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.
According to Cooper, Americans across the nation are already aware of the case.
“I predict that this will be arguably the most significant issue of the upcoming Supreme Court term. Voting rights advocates and citizens across ought to be concerned about this case, according to Cooper.
The first Monday in October marks the start of the Supreme Court’s upcoming term.
As the 116th Supreme Court Justice to hold office, it will also be Justice Ketanji Brown Jackson’s first term on the bench.