BREAKING: Supreme Court hears arguments in North Carolina redistricting case

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On Wednesday, the Supreme Court heard arguments in the case of Moore v Harper.

State legislatures have total authority over how elections for senators and representatives are conducted. State legislatures also have the authority to appoint electors. Both of these provisions are detailed in the Constitution.  

Yet, in North Carolina, a court took authority away from legislators after the court determined the map drawn by state reps was too partisan. That court drew its own map—and implemented it. The disenfranchised legislators, led by Timothy Moore, have brought the case to the court. 

Specifically at issue in Moore v Harper is whether or not the Republican-controlled legislature in North Carolina in 2021 had the authority to redraw electoral maps that would have restructured districts to lean more heavily Republican. 

North Carolina’s highest court ruled in February 2022 that the legislature could not redraw the map as they had, stating that “the new map was an ‘egregious and intentional; partisan gerrymander, ‘designed to enhance Republican performance, and thereby give a greater voice to those voters than to any others,'” reports SCOTUS blog.

The court, having determined that the legislature acted inappropriately, then appointed their own “experts” who drew a new electoral map, which was then used. The GOP in North Carolina asked the Supreme Court to disallow the court-drawn map and reinstate the one the legislature had drawn. The court refused, but then took up the case in June. In the interim, the court-drawn map has been in use, which earned the state a split of congressional seats, with 7 GOP and 7 Democrats taking seats.

In hearing arguments on Wednesday, Justice Sonia Sotomayor asked attorneys for Harper how anything could get in the way of the constitutional clauses allowing control of elections, even if states determined that they wanted to make other laws, those laws would be overruled by the Constitution. 

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