For months, conservatives have pinned their hopes for honest elections on a U.S. Supreme Court case Moore v. Harper. But now it appears possible that the Court will punt on the case unless conservatives on the bench speak up and demand that it proceeds.
Ironically, Moore v. Harper may fall victim to the success North Carolina republicans have had in electing a GOP-dominated state supreme court.
The case originated when the North Carolina Supreme Court, then in Democratic hands, threw out a reapportionment map passed by the Republican legislature. The Republicans sued saying that the U.S. Constitution explicitly gives the state legislatures — not the state courts, not the governors, just the legislature — the power to determine the “times, places, and manner” of elections for U.S. Congress.
If the U.S. Supreme Court rules for the Republican plaintiffs, the GOP-controlled legislatures in many swing states such as Pennsylvania will be able to pass photo id and signature verification laws now subject to vetoes by their Democratic governors.
But, while the Moore v Harper case has been pending, the Republicans took control of the North Carolina Supreme Court, raising the likelihood that it will throw out the Democratic reapportionment.
Such a step would, some say, render Moore v Harper moot. That’s true insofar as the reapportionment aspects of the case are concerned, but the other issues — who gets to write the election laws — are far from moot.
The Democrats are hoping that the case is thrown out by the U.S. Supreme Court.
But the election rules part of the case should — and must — be allowed to be resolved. We have lived too long under the threat of rigged election laws and invalid votes in the absence of clear guidance from the highest court in the land.
American democracy has suffered long enough due to the Supreme Court’s failure to do its duty and decide this most pressing question: Who controls federal elections?
We need a resolution, and we need it this term!
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