WASHINGTON, D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court handed voters a major victory today with its 6-3 ruling that state courts can review — and rectify — election-related rules and voting maps passed by state legislatures.
The ruling (available here) in Moore v. Harper is a win for voters, given the potential the case had to shatter the checks and balances that serve as underpinnings of American democracy. By rejecting the reckless “independent state legislature theory” at the heart of the case, the Court extinguished partisan legislative attempts to manipulate election rules and voting maps without facing the checks and balances served by the state courts and governors.
“Historical practice confirms that state legislatures remain bound by state constitutional restraints when exercising authority under the Elections Clause,” wrote Chief Justice John Roberts for the majority.
At a media briefing held Wednesday, representatives of Common Cause and Southern Coalition for Social Justice discussed the major decision released today by the U.S. Supreme Court. A recording of the briefing is available here.
Statement from Hilary Harris Klein, Senior Counsel for Voting Rights at SCSJ
“The ruling in Moore v. Harper was a complete rejection of the independent state legislature theory and a clear victory for American democracy. The court not only rejected the radical arguments advanced by North Carolina legislators, but they also adopted the pro-democracy position in full.”
Statement from Kathay Feng, Common Causes Vice President of Programs:
“It’s official — ISLT is DOA. We beat back the most serious legal threat our democracy has ever faced with today’s ruling in Moore v. Harper. Today’s ruling is a major victory for our rights as Americans to have a government that values every person’s voice and vote.”
Statement from Bob Phillips, Common Cause North Carolina’s executive director:
“What really matters for the voters here in North Carolina is fairness, whether they’re Democrats, Republicans, or Independents. What people want are fair maps and election laws that are also fair.”
Statement from Neal Katyal of Hogan Lovells:
“The decision is a complete repudiation of the independent state legislature theory and a powerful reaffirmation that state legislatures must comply with their founding charters upholding the limits placed on state legislatures by the people. And, finally, it’s a signal that this United States Supreme Court, with a solid six justices behind it, will resist attempts by state legislatures to mess with the integrity of the 2024 election.”
Statement from Becky Harper, named plaintiff and aCommon Cause North Carolina board member:
“This is an exciting day for voters in North Carolina and in fact, voters across the country that we do indeed have a system of checks and balances. Voters just want honest elections; voters want the ability to pick their representatives.”