Supreme Court Ruling Upholds Democracy's Foundation Against Attacks on Election Integrity

Supreme Court Rejects Independent State Legislature Theory

The Supreme Court has rejected the independent state legislature theory, affirming that state courts can overrule state legislatures on federal election rules within limits.

This ruling came in response to the case of Moore v. Harper, where North Carolina’s Republican legislative leaders argued that the state’s Supreme Court couldn't bar the legislature from creating gerrymandered districts to benefit the GOP, even if they violated constitutional voter protections.

The Court's decision ensures that the one remaining check on statehouses' ability to distort the rule of law and the will of the people remains intact.

By dismissing this ahistoric theory, the Supreme Court has taken a stand against attempts to undermine democracy's foundations.

A Heartening and Encouraging Decision

The readiness of six justices to call the independent state legislature theory what it is — ahistoric, in clear conflict with precedent, and, essentially, baloney — is heartening.

This decision is particularly encouraging because two of the majority justices, Brett M. Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett, were appointed by President Donald Trump. It shows that the Court can rise above partisan influences in defense of democracy.

The Supreme Court's choice to weigh in forcefully on the merits, rather than declaring the matter moot, further reinforces its commitment to safeguarding democracy's foundations.

This ruling serves as a reminder that the Supreme Court will remain a bulwark against attacks on election integrity, especially those that are egregious.

Protecting the Integrity of Our Elections

While the Court's decision is a victory for democracy, it does not guarantee responsible actions from all institutions, politicians, or their allies.

The interplay among governors, legislatures, and courts remains as fraught as ever.

To protect the integrity of our elections, all actors must follow the example set by the Supreme Court in Moore v. Harper: fulfill their duties fairly and impartially, in accordance with constitutional requirements.

Only with a collective commitment to upholding democracy's foundations can we ensure the continued strength and fairness of our electoral processes.


Editorial Board. (June 27, 2023). The Supreme Court rejected a radical theory on elections. Phew..
Bryan Metzger. (June 27, 2023). George Santos' first-ever bill co-sponsor is Paul Gosar, a GOP congressman who has associated with white nationalists.

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