sunny.png
Tuesday July 5th, 2022 5:38PM

Justices seem poised to hear elections case pressed by GOP

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court seems poised to take on a new elections case being pressed by Republicans that could increase the power of state lawmakers over races for Congress and the presidency, as well as redistricting, and cut state courts out of the equation.

The issue has arisen repeatedly in cases from North Carolina and Pennsylvania, where Democratic majorities on the states’ highest courts have invoked voting protections in their state constitutions to frustrate the plans of Republican-dominated legislatures.

Already, four conservative Supreme Court justices have noted their interest in deciding whether state courts, finding violations of their state constitutions, can order changes to federal elections and the once-a-decade redrawing of congressional districts. The Supreme Court has never invoked what is known as the independent state legislature doctrine, although three justices advanced it in the Bush v. Gore case that settled the 2000 presidential election.

“The issue is almost certain to keep arising until the Court definitively resolves it,” Justice Brett Kavanaugh wrote in March.

It only takes four of the nine justices to agree to hear a case. A majority of five is needed for an eventual decision.

Many election law experts are alarmed by the prospect that the justices might seek to reduce state courts' powers over elections.

“A ruling endorsing a strong or muscular reading of the independent state legislature theory would potentially give state legislatures even more power to curtail voting rights and provide a pathway for litigation to subvert the election outcomes expressing the will of the people,” law professor Richard Hasen wrote in an email.

But if the justices are going to get involved, Hasen said, “it does make sense for the Court to do it outside the context of an election with national implications.”

The court could say as early as Tuesday, or perhaps the following week, whether it will hear an appeal filed by North Carolina Republicans. The appeal challenges a state court ruling that threw out the congressional districts drawn by the General Assembly that made GOP candidates likely victors in 10 of the state's 14 congressional districts.

The North Carolina Supreme Court held that the boundaries violated state constitution provisions protecting free elections and freedoms of speech and association by handicapping voters who support Democrats.

The new map that eventually emerged and is being used this year gives Democrats a good chance to win six seats, and possibly a seventh in a new toss-up district.

Pennsylvania's top court also selected a map that Republicans say probably will lead to the election of more Democrats, as the two parties battle for control of the U.S. House in the midterm elections in November. An appeal from Pennsylvania also is waiting, if the court for some reason passes on the North Carolina case.

Nationally, the parties fought to a draw in redistricting, which leaves Republicans positioned to win control of the House even if they come up just short of winning a majority of the national vote.

If the GOP does well in November, the party also could capture seats on state supreme courts, including in North Carolina, that might allow for the drawing of more slanted maps that previous courts rejected. Two court seats held by North Carolina Democrats are on the ballot this year and Republicans need to win just one to take control of the court for the first time since 2017.

In their appeal to the nation's high court, North Carolina Republicans wrote that it is time for the Supreme Court to weigh in on the elections clause in the U.S. Constitution, which gives each state’s legislature the responsibility to determine “the times, places and manner” of holding congressional elections.

“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 when the appeal was filed in March.

The Supreme Court generally does not disturb state court rulings that are rooted in state law.

But four Supreme Court justices — Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch and Kavanaugh — have said the court should step in to decide whether state courts had improperly taken powers given by the U.S. Constitution to state lawmakers.

That was the argument that Thomas and two other conservative justices put forward in Bush v. Gore, although that case was decided on other grounds.

If the court takes up the North Carolina case and rules in the GOP’s favor, North Carolina Republicans could draw new maps for 2024 elections with less worry that the state Supreme Court would strike them down.

Defenders of state court involvement argue that state lawmakers would also gain the power to pass provisions that would suppress voting, subject only to challenge in federal courts. Delegating power to election boards and secretaries of state to manage federal elections in emergencies also could be questioned legally, some scholars said.

“Its adoption would radically change our elections,” Ethan Herenstein and Tom Wolf, both with the Brennan Center’s Democracy Program at the New York University Law School, wrote earlier this month.

___

Robertson reported from Raleigh, North Carolina.

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, AP Online National News, Top General short headlines, AP Online Headlines - Washington, AP Online Congress News, AP Elections, General House Election News
© Copyright 2022 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Justices seem poised to hear elections case pressed by GOP
The Supreme Court seems poised to take on a new elections case being pressed by Republicans
8:31AM ( 31 minutes ago )
DC mayor's race reflects Democratic dilemma over policing
Mayor Muriel Bowser cruised to reelection in the nation’s capital four years ago without serious opposition
8:17AM ( 45 minutes ago )
Morale is concern as NATO chief warns war could last 'years'
British defense officials assessing the intense fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine bordering Russia say morale among troops on both sides is likely growing troubled
8:06AM ( 56 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Biden adviser Jake Sullivan tests positive for COVID-19
White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan has tested positive for COVID-19
11:14PM ( 9 hours ago )
Political commentator and columnist Mark Shields dies at 85
Political commentator and columnist Mark Shields, who shared his insight into American politics and wit on “PBS NewsHour” for decades, has died
6:13PM ( 14 hours ago )
Biden takes spill while getting off bike after beach ride
President Joe Biden took a spill when he tried to get off his bike at the end of a ride Saturday at Cape Henlopen State Park near his beach home in Delaware
5:48PM ( 15 hours ago )
AP Online Headlines - Washington
Iowa doors swing open for Republicans eyeing White House run
At least a half-dozen GOP presidential prospects are planning Iowa visits this summer now that the state's June primary has come and gone
12:51AM ( 1 day ago )
7 arrested in House office building linked to Colbert show
U.S. Capitol Police say officers detained seven unauthorized people in a congressional office building Thursday night and charged them with unlawful entry
9:33PM ( 1 day ago )
Deputy: 2 officers had chance to shoot Uvalde school gunman
Two Uvalde city police officers told a sheriff's deputy that they passed up a fleeting chance to shoot the gunman for fear of hitting children outside an elementary school where the gunman killed 21 people
8:32PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Online Congress News
Tight Colombian runoff pits former rebel, millionaire
Voters in Colombia will choose between a leftist former rebel and an unpredictable millionaire Sunday when they vote in a presidential runoff election that promises to reshape the country after a first round of voting that punished the political class
12:02AM ( 9 hours ago )
Jan. 6 witnesses push Trump stalwarts back to rabbit hole
Instead of convincing Donald Trump's most loyal supporters of his misdeeds, the revelations from the hearings into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol are prompting many of them to reassert their views that he was correct in falsely asserting a claim to victory
12:19AM ( 1 day ago )
Official in election standoff avoids prison in Capitol riot
An elected official who was a central figure in a New Mexico county’s refusal to certify recent election results based on debunked conspiracy theories about voting machines has avoided more jail time for joining the mob that attacked the U.S. Capitol
7:40PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Elections
Texas recount underway between Texas Rep. Cuellar, Cisneros
A recount is underway in a Texas primary race between Democratic U.S. Rep. Henry Cuellar and progressive challenger Jessica Cisneros
6:09PM ( 2 days ago )
Palin, Begich, Gross advance in Alaska US House race
Republican former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin, Republican Nick Begich and independent Al Gross have advanced to the August special election for the state’s only U.S. House seat
11:58PM ( 3 days ago )
Rice loses House seat after impeaching Trump; Mace holds on
U.S. Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina has been ousted from Congress in his Republican primary after voting to impeach Donald Trump over the Jan. 6 insurrection
6:49AM ( 4 days ago )
General House Election News
DC mayor's race reflects Democratic dilemma over policing
Mayor Muriel Bowser cruised to reelection in the nation’s capital four years ago without serious opposition
8:17AM ( 46 minutes ago )
Morale is concern as NATO chief warns war could last 'years'
British defense officials assessing the intense fighting in the Donbas region of Ukraine bordering Russia say morale among troops on both sides is likely growing troubled
8:06AM ( 57 minutes ago )
Black Americans living abroad reflect on Juneteenth
As the United States marks only the second federally recognized Juneteenth, Black Americans living overseas have embraced the holiday as a day of reflection and an opportunity to educate people in their host countries on Black history
7:50AM ( 1 hour ago )
French voters elect parliamentarians, in test for Macron
French voters are going to the polls for the final round of key parliamentary elections that will demonstrate how much legroom the electorate is willing to give President Emmanuel Macron’s party to implement his ambitious domestic agenda
7:32AM ( 1 hour ago )
US opens COVID vaccine to little kids; shots begin this week
U.S. health officials have opened COVID-19 vaccines for infants, toddlers and preschoolers — the last group without the shots
7:29AM ( 1 hour ago )