From today’s CNN Online:
The Supreme Court on Thursday agreed to hear a dispute over redistricting in North Carolina, a case that could have major implications for voting rights across the country and fundamentally change the landscape of election law.
At the center of the wide-ranging case is the fate of a legal doctrine that allows state courts to check the behavior state legislatures. A decision to undermine the courts could empower state lawmakers in disputes over redistricting maps and potentially offer them more freedom to intervene in federal elections.
The decision to hear the case is a boon to Republicans, who control the majority of state legislatures, and have seen congressional and state legislative maps struck down by state courts.
The so-called “Independent State Legislature” theory, which lies at the center of the legal nuts and bolts, was also pushed by allies of former President Donald Trump after the 2020 election as part of their bid to effectively overrule the will of voters and potentially replace electors for President Joe Biden with slates selected by Trump allies in state government.
If the theory is embraced by the Supreme Court’s conservative supermajority, critics say, rogue legislators would be freed to act without any constraints by courts in their states.
Traditionally, according to Rick Hasen, an election law expert at the University of California, Irvine School of Law, legislatures have set ground rules for conducting an election, but not acted alone or with the final word. The processes they set in place, as it currently stands, are also subject to intervention and interpretation by election administrators and state courts.
“If the Supreme Court adopts this theory, voters would have their rights further eroded by a neutering of state courts’ ability to be more protective of voters than federal courts,” Hasen said.
Read the complete story here.