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Supreme Court poised to hear case on election rules

The case pertains to the role state courts play in elections.

Published: June 20, 2022 8:41am

Updated: June 20, 2022 11:05am

The Supreme Court appears poised to take on the issue of how much courts can interfere with the Constitutional rights pf state legislatures to set the rules of election, a case that could dramatically reshape battles over redistricting and ballot access.

In states such as North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where the high state courts are dominated by Democrats, Republican-led legislatures have grown frustrated by some election opinions judges have issued and affirmed.

The Associated Press reports that four of the high court's conservative-leaning justices have expressed interest in deciding whether state courts should have the power to change federal election laws. 

In March, Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote that the issue will "keep arising until the Court definitely resolves it."

Four of the nine high court justices must agree to hear a case. Along with Kavanaugh, Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Neil Gorsuch have also expressed interest in the case.

The court may decide as soon as this week whether it will hear an appeal filed by North Carolina Republicans that challenges a state court ruling that threw out the congressional district maps drawn by that state's General Assembly.

The North Carolina Supreme Court ruled that the map violated state constitution provisions protecting free elections and free association by establishing lines that would likely yield GOP victories. 

The map that is being used gives Democrats a much greater chance at winning about half of the state's districts.

"Activist judges and allied plaintiffs have proved time and time again that they believe state courts have the ultimate say over Congressional maps, no matter what the U.S. Constitution says," North Carolina Senate leader Phil Berger said in March, when the appeal was filed.

Pennsylvania similarly selected a map that Republicans say will likely lead to the election of more Democrats. Pennsylvania Republicans have appealed the decision. 

Should the court eventually rule in favor of the North Carolina Republicans, the state GOP could draw new maps ahead of the 2024 election without as much concern that the state's high court would strike them down. 

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