The Supreme Court is poised to cut the heart out of majority rule

The Supreme Court is poised to cut the heart out of majority rule

Laurence H. Tribe and Dennis Aftergut write:

The Supreme Court’s extremist justices are aiming their next dagger at the heart of the entire democratic enterprise: voters’ right to pick leaders of their choice.

On Thursday, the court announced that it will hear Moore vs. Harper, a North Carolina case involving gerrymandered congressional district maps drawn by the state’s Republican-controlled Legislature. Those maps would probably give Republicans control of 11 of 14 congressional districts in the state.

North Carolina’s Supreme Court rejected the maps because they violated the state Constitution in illegally favoring Republicans. While the Moore case involves legislative districts, how we choose presidents is in the court’s sights. More on that in a moment.

In Moore, Republican state legislators petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court, advancing a debunked right-wing doctrine innocuously labeled the “independent state legislature” theory. It maintains that state courts can play no role in overseeing their legislatures in federal election matters.

Hence, according to this baseless notion, state legislatures can do whatever they want in manipulating elections no matter how extreme the results — principles of voter equality and fairness be damned, along with the state’s constitution, its governor and its courts.

Four justices — Neil Gorsuch, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Brett Kavanaugh — had previously signaled support for this idea. One more justice would provide a majority to give state legislatures absolute control of electoral votes in presidential elections. [Continue reading…]

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