(WASHINGTON) The US Supreme Court on Tuesday refused to change the election law to give states more latitude in setting ballots for the White House and Congress.
By a six-out-of-nine-judge majority, the Supreme Court rejected a theory proposed by Republican lawmakers from North Carolina that, according to its critics, would have weakened American democracy.
Postal voting, office opening hours, documents to be submitted to register for voter registration…: The Constitution entrusts each state’s elected representatives with the task of setting the “time, place and procedure” of ballots.
However, their laws are reviewed by local courts. That’s exactly what North Carolina elected officials wanted to change.
According to them, the Constitution “puts federal elections in the hands of the state legislatures and no one else,” the so-called “independent state legislatures” doctrine.
The Constitution “does not shield local legislatures from ordinary judicial review by their state courts,” though the left immediately welcomed the U.S. House of Laws in a ruling on Tuesday.
The Supreme Court rejected a “fringe doctrine” that “threatens our democracy and the balance of power,” former Democratic President Barack Obama tweeted.
This file originates from the 2020 Census, which recorded an increase in population in North Carolina. As a result, the state gained an additional seat in the House of Representatives and its legislators changed the boundaries of the districts.
Their map, however, was struck down by the state Supreme Court, which ruled that it favored Democratic voters in some areas by diluting their votes elsewhere. The second card did not seem reasonable and the local high court appointed an independent expert to look into it.
Local lawmakers turned to the U.S. Supreme Court, accusing the state judiciary of usurping their role.
The High Court declined to intervene hastily and the expert card worked well in mid-term elections in November, allowing seven representatives from each party to be elected.
During this election, the balance has shifted on North Carolina’s Supreme Court, where conservative justices hold a majority. Subsequently, they changed hands saying that they were not competent to invalidate the constituency allocation.
So local parliamentarians can re-draw a new map before the 2024 elections. The Supreme Court’s ruling will not have a concrete impact after that.
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