The Chicago Journal

Electoral Map Dispute: US Supreme Court Rejects Republican Appeals

Photo: Clay Banks

The U.S. Supreme Court allowed North Carolina and Pennsylvania electoral maps approved by state courts to be used in place of those supposedly biased towards Republicans. 

As a result, it facilitates Democratic opportunities of retaining the influence of the U.S. House of Representatives in November. 

The juries rejected appeals from Republicans who wanted to postpone lower court verdicts that assumed court-drawn extremities for the 14 and 17 House districts of North Carolina and Pennsylvania, respectively, to change electoral maps designed by Republican-swayed legislatures in both states. 

With President Joe Biden’s co-Democrats barely winning the House on November 8th, Republicans are looking to take back control of this institution. Primary elections will be held on May 17th for Pennsylvania and North Carolina seats.

Conservative judges Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch objected to the action regarding North Carolina, resulting in the court reaching a 6 – 3 conservative majority. 

The U.S.’s voting districts are a subject of intense debate, with many court cases being filed over their structure determined by the national census. Every decade, electoral districts are redrafted to show population changes determined in a national census. 

In most states, the restructure is conducted by the party in power, resulting in map exploitation for partisan benefit. In 2019, the Supreme Court banned federal justices from restraining the practice – of partisan gerrymandering. 

“The North Carolina courts have usurped (the legislature’s) constitutional authority,” wrote the North Carolina Republicans in a court document.

The Republicans referred to the “independent state legislature doctrine” – a once-marginal legal theory. It is getting attention in conservative legal circles and, if passed, would extensively expand politician power over elections. 

They have been subjected to the doctrine that the U.S. Constitution grants legislatures, not state courts or other bodies of the law, control over election rules, such as drafting electoral districts. 

According to Alito, the court-drawn map should have been obstructed by the judges.

“This case presents an exceptionally important and recurring question of constitutional law, namely, the extent of a state court’s authority to reject rules adopted by a state legislature for use in conducting federal elections,” wrote Alito.