July 6, 2022

Voting Integrity Goes Before the Supreme Court

The justices agreed to hear a key case on election laws in the coming term.

Just in time for the 2024 campaign to begin, the Supreme Court last week decided to take up a voting rights case for its 2022-23 term beginning this fall.

We don’t know when opening arguments will commence, but when the Court takes up Moore v. Harper, it will be closely watched and billed as a partisan measure attempting to assist Republicans and, to the horror of left-wing pundits, perhaps a vehicle to allow Donald Trump to “cheat his way into office” in 2024. “There were checks in place to keep Trump from stealing a second term in office,” complained Philip Bump of The Washington Post. “The Supreme Court will consider whether those checks might, to some degree, be weakened.”

Or, as New York University constitutional law professor Melissa Murray told NPR: “In this particular case, the question is going to be whether state courts have the authority to review the state constitution to impose limits on electoral policies that disenfranchise voters, for example, like partisan gerrymandering. So this could have very real consequences on the ground that make it harder for certain members of the polity to register their participation in the democratic process.”

Of course, the Left is going to play its “voter suppression” card. Indeed, the Biden administration sued Arizona Tuesday on that basis. That whole “Jim Crow” canard was a favorite trope in Georgia, Texas, and elsewhere. It is a BIG Lie.

At issue in the case going before the Supreme Court is a judicial principle called independent state legislature theory. Simply put, if the Court rules as the plaintiffs hope it will, there would be a much smaller role for the state judicial system to play in enacting voting law. While it won’t be completely eliminated, the tendency for losing (usually Democrat) candidates to run to a judge for a decision in their favor may be curtailed when the Supreme Court speaks.

Moore v. Harper stems from developments in North Carolina, where the state’s Supreme Court interjected itself into congressional redistricting by tossing out a Republican-drawn district map and dictating a more Democrat-friendly map of its creation be used. While the state’s highest court is also an elected body — and has a 4-3 Democrat lean — the argument by the Republican plaintiffs is that, according to the plain language of the Constitution, the legislature should dictate election law.

Back in March, SCOTUS rejected the Republicans’ attempt for a stay on the court-drawn redistricting map, but Justice Samuel Alito noted at the time in his dissent that the Court would eventually be forced to rule on the matter. “We will have to resolve this question sooner or later, and the sooner we do so, the better,” he said. “This case presented a good opportunity to consider the issue, but unfortunately the Court has again found the occasion inopportune.” The time will arrive this fall.

Before people begin counting their chickens at the prospect of a SCOTUS victory improving the prospects for Trump (or any other Republican) in 2024, there are a few near-term drawbacks to independent state legislature theory. While 30 states have Republican-led legislatures at this time, it also puts the residents of 20 Democrat-controlled states in peril of enduring overly relaxed laws for voter identification and mail-in balloting. They may even have their presidential preference wiped out in the event the Democrat-sponsored National Popular Vote compact, which has been passed in 15 states, becomes law. Our Mark Alexander discussed some of these radical ideas at length as President Trump was leaving office; since then we’ve seen what lengths leftists will go to in order to maintain their hold on abortion and gun control.

For them, this strike at the very heart of their power will be an “all hands on deck” moment, and we need to be prepared.

Then again, a favorable ruling by the Court could short-circuit the Democrats’ HR 1 election power grab. No outcome could be better.

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