Legislators’ redistricting arguments would ‘wreak havoc,’ critics tell U.S. Supreme Court | Eastern North Carolina Now | N.C. legislative leaders' redistricting arguments would "wreak havoc" on American elections, according to a new brief filed at the U.S. Supreme Court by left-of-center critics.

Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19)
    Publisher's Note: This post appears here courtesy of the Carolina Journal. The author of this post is CJ Staff.

    Critics of North Carolina's Republican-led General Assembly urge the U.S. Supreme Court to reject lawmakers' arguments in the Moore v. Harper redistricting case. Those critics predict a ruling in favor of lawmakers would "wreak havoc" on American elections.

    The nation's highest court will hear oral arguments on Dec. 7 in Moore v. Harper.

    Lawyers representing left-of-center groups Common Cause and the N.C. League of Conservation Voters, along with individual plaintiffs, filed a brief Wednesday with the Supreme Court. They are considered "respondents" in the case, while state legislative leaders are labeled "petitioners."

    Among the 35 lawyers listed on the brief is Michael Luttig, a prominent former conservative federal Appeals Court judge. Luttig has been a vocal critic of the Trump administration's challenge of 2020 election results. The list of lawyers also includes Neal Katyal, a Georgetown Law School professor and former acting solicitor general of the United States.

    "Petitioners ask this Court to interpret our Constitution's Elections Clause in a manner that flouts that document's most fundamental premise - that a government's power derives from 'We the People' and is limited by the constraints the people impose on their government," the respondents' brief argued. "According to Petitioners, when the Elections Clause assigns authority to the state 'Legislature,' it authorizes those legislatures to violate their own state constitutions, as interpreted by their state courts. Every tool of constitutional interpretation demonstrates that Petitioners are wrong."

    "Contrary to Petitioners' claim, conferring power on the state 'Legislature' to regulate congressional elections does not nullify state constitutional limits on that power any more than empowering 'Congress' nullifies federal constitutional limits," legislative critics added. "And when state courts enforce state constitutions, they no more exercise 'legislative' authority

    than do federal courts."


    History and court precedent argue against state lawmakers, according to their left-of-center critics.

    "Nearly a century ago, this Court unanimously rejected the argument that the Elections Clause endows state legislatures 'with power to enact laws in any manner other than that in which the Constitution of the State has provided,'" according to respondents' brief. "More recently, all nine Justices rejected the claim that state legislatures have 'exclusive' redistricting authority immune from constitutional constraints."

    State law gives N.C. courts the authorization to review congressional election maps, respondents argued. "Petitioners never explain how the North Carolina Supreme Court could be usurping power that the legislature and Congress specifically gave it."

    "Adopting Petitioners' interpretation ... would wreak havoc," according to the brief. "Running elections is already 'extraordinarily complicated and difficult.' Petitioners' theory could require state officials to run two elections simultaneously: one for state elections that are subject to the state constitution, and one for congressional elections that are not."

    "Petitioners' theory would also call into doubt indispensable features of States' election apparatuses - which empower executive officials to administer elections and permit state courts to adjudicate election disputes," respondents argued. "Perhaps worst of all, Petitioners' theory would require this Court to second-guess state-court interpretations of state constitutions, often in an emergency posture on the eve of an election - an intolerable affront to the principles of federalism."

    "It is rare to encounter a constitutional theory so antithetical to the Constitution's text and structure, so inconsistent with the Constitution's original meaning, so disdainful of this Court's precedent, and so potentially damaging for American democracy."

    Legislative leaders argue that the N.C. Supreme Court overstepped its authority in February when it threw out a congressional election map drawn by the Republican-led General Assembly. State courts later substituted their own map for the 2022 election cycle. It was drawn by outside "special masters" working for a three-judge trial court.

    Lawmakers argue in Moore v. Harper that the Election Clause - Article I, Section 4, Clause 1 of the U.S. Constitution - assigns decisions about the "times, places, and manner" of holding federal elections to state legislatures.

    "The text of the Constitution directly answers the question presented in this case," wrote legislative leaders' attorneys in August. "The Elections Clause provides, in unambiguous language, that the manner of federal elections shall 'be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.' Yet in the decision below, the North Carolina Supreme Court invalidated the state legislature's duly enacted congressional map and decreed that the 2022 election and all upcoming congressional elections in the State were not to be held in the 'Manner' 'prescribed ... by the Legislature thereof,' but rather in the manner prescribed by the state's judicial branch."

    "It is obvious on the face of the Constitution that this result is irreconcilable with that document's allocation of authority over federal elections," legislative leaders argued.
Go Back


Leave a Guest Comment

Your Name or Alias
Your Email Address ( your email address will not be published)
Enter Your Comment ( no code or urls allowed, text only please )




The Armed Teacher Carolina Journal, Statewide, Editorials, Government, Op-Ed & Politics, State and Federal Fake Frankie...more lies


HbAD0

Latest State and Federal

The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services is committed to empowering people with disabilities with the tools and resources they need to live healthy, independent lives in their communities.
The national 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline is now receiving phone calls. Text and chat service continues uninterrupted.
The Board of Elections monthly meeting scheduled for Tuesday, December 6th, 2022 has been cancelled.
With election upon us, the constant stream of campaign ads that most of us cannot seem to get away from has only steadily increased.
The national 9-8-8 Crisis and Suicide Lifeline has been unable to route calls to our call centers since about 10 a.m. today, Dec. 1.
In a 4-3 party-line vote, with Democrats in the majority, the N.C. Supreme Court is endorsing a court-ordered plan to transfer hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state treasury. The money would address the Leandro education funding lawsuit.
Raleigh, N.C. — The State Board of Elections on Tuesday unanimously certified the results of the 2022 general election in North Carolina.
"I believe blacks can achieve in every avenue of American life without the meddling of university administrators."
In a dramatic ruling issued just days before midterm elections, the North Carolina Supreme Court upheld a lower court’s ruling and ordered the transfer of millions of dollars to pay for a school improvement plan designed to ensure North Carolina’s school children receive a sound basic education

HbAD1

 
Back to Top