WASHINGTON, D.C. — On Tuesday, Oct. 18, the U.S. Supreme Court announced that oral argument in Moore v. Harper will be held on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022. Moore, a case dealing with congressional redistricting in North Carolina, gives the Court the opportunity to review the radical independent state legislature (ISL) theory. This theory, thus far dismissed by courts as a fringe constitutional theory, argues that state legislatures have special authority to set federal election rules, free from interference from other parts of the state government such as state courts and governors. The theory threatens the foundations of American democracy and how the Supreme Court rules in this case will have major ramifications.
Earlier this year, the North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the state’s congressional map drawn by the Republican-controlled Legislature, ruling the map was a partisan gerrymander that violated the state constitution. Court-appointed special masters then drew a congressional map that will be in place only for the 2022 U.S. House elections. North Carolina Republicans filed an emergency petition asking the U.S. Supreme Court to block the use of this remedial map, but the Court declined their request. The same Republicans later asked the Supreme Court for a full review of the North Carolina court’s decision. On June 30, the Court agreed, and on Dec. 7, the Court will hear oral argument from the attorney representing the North Carolina Republican legislators as well as from the attorney representing the Harper parties. How the Court rules in the case could shape legislatures’ power in regulating federal elections — and the checks and balances on this power — for years to come.
The brief from the Harper parties is due on Wednesday, Oct. 19, and amicus briefs supporting the Harper parties are due Oct. 26.