The U.S. Supreme Court expressed its split on Wednesday in an election law case that could revolutionize the election systems for the White House and Congress.
At the center of the debate: A new legislative proposal proposed by North Carolina’s Republican Party would, if adopted, give lawmakers in all 50 states free rein to organize federal elections.
Postal voting, office opening hours, documents to be submitted to register for voter registration…: The Constitution entrusts each state’s elected representatives with the task of setting the “time, place and manner” of voting.
However, their laws are reviewed by local courts. And that’s what elected officials in North Carolina want to change. According to them, the Constitution “places federal elections in the hands of state legislators and no one else”.
During the trial, the three progressive justices of the court, called “free state legislators,” strongly opposed this theory. It aims to “throw off the balance of power” when the US “needs it most”, as Elena Kagan has warned in particular.
US democracy has been undermined by efforts by former President Donald Trump, backed by some local elected officials, to invalidate his defeat in the 2020 election.
Some tended to confirm the new theory. Brushing off concerns for democracy, Neil Gorsuch noted that laws passed by local elected officials would be subject to review by federal courts.
But others seemed more skeptical. Chief Justice John Roberts noted the position of North Carolina elected officials, who argued early in the proceedings that they could not veto election laws before governors changed their minds.
Conservative judge Brett Kavanagh, for his part, is looking for ways to justify the theory of elected officials without checking it. “Isn’t there a more limited alternative to decide in your favor?” He asked their lawyer.
From the 2020 census it is confirmed that North Carolina has reported population growth. As a result, the state gained an additional seat in the House of Representatives and its legislators had their constituency boundaries altered.
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In February, their map was struck down by the state Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the Republican Party, leaving Democratic voters to dilute their votes elsewhere. The second map did not seem reasonable, so the local high court appointed an independent expert.
Local lawmakers, led by House Republican Leader Tim Moore, appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, accusing the state judiciary of usurping their role.
The High Court declined to intervene hastily and the expert card fared well in mid-term elections in November, allowing seven representatives from each party to be elected. But she agreed to examine the matter on its merits, while not obliging.
Ahead of the trial, President Joe Biden’s administration, Democratic state and senators and key civil rights groups must write to the court to block adoption of the new doctrine, which it deems dangerous to democracy.
“This extremist interpretation of the Constitution allows local elected officials to disenfranchise certain voters, set up constituencies as they please, and sabotage the outcome of the election,” Sophia Lynn Luckin told reporters. American Civil Liberties Union.
Republicans deemed their warning speech “absurd.” In a separate argument, he argued that impeaching North Carolina’s elected officials “does not give state legislatures carte blanche.”
But in conservative circles, the doctrine is not unanimous. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the former Republican governor of California, said, “Our political system would suffer greatly if we lost control of the butchery of election districts.
The court has to give a verdict by June 30.