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The Supreme Court Will Consider A 'Dangerous' Theory That Could Break American Democracy

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SCOTUS to take up election case

The Supreme Court will hear arguments in a redistricting case on Wednesday, and it is no arcane dispute about district lines or partisan balance. North Carolina Republicans have asked the court to embrace a fringe legal theory with no basis in American history that would upend American democracy, eviscerate voting rights, make combating partisan gerrymandering impossible and empower anti-democratic election subverters.

Moore v. Harper involves a bizarre legal gambit known as the independent state legislature theory. It argues that the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution provides state legislatures the sole authority to set the “time, place, and manner” of federal elections.

Its adoption would place legislatures outside of the purview of state constitutions, effectively ending state court judicial review of election laws or congressional district maps. There would also be no gubernatorial veto of such laws. Election administration would effectively short-circuit, as every little change would need to be approved by a legislature. And citizen-backed ballot initiatives on election or redistricting law would no longer be allowed.

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