FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ruoping Chen / Jimmy Patel-Nguyen
202-223-9170 / 919-335-6156
WASHINGTON D.C. — The U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments last week for Moore v. Harper, a case from North Carolina regarding an extremist legal theory referred to as the “independent state legislature theory” (ISLT). This theory asserts that state legislatures have the final say in election-related matters – a dangerous view that would threaten voting rights.
The case before the Supreme Court stems from a redistricting dispute coming out of North Carolina. Following the results of the 2020 Census, congressional district maps were redrawn to reflect the population increase and communities of interest. The state Supreme Court invalidated a congressional district map after finding it had unlawfully used partisan gerrymandering, and replaced it with a non-partisan court-drawn map. North Carolina state legislators appealed the state Supreme Court’s decision and brought it to the U.S. Supreme Court earlier this year.
North Carolina state legislators who are in favor of advancing the ISLT argue that under the U.S. Constitution, state legislatures have the sole authority to set the rules in federal elections, and therefore state courts cannot review the legislature’s decisions.
“State legislatures should not have the unchecked power to run U.S. elections or to set election laws,” says Chavi Khanna Koneru, co-founder and Executive Director at North Carolina Asian Americans Together. “That is not how our democracy works. Moore would grant state legislators the absolute ability to manipulate election outcomes with rigged voting maps and other discriminatory barriers to voting. If Moore succeeds, all voters would suffer and BIPOC communities would be disproportionately affected. This case is about upholding America’s system of checks and balances to ensure every vote is counted and every voice is heard.”
“If the Supreme Court adopts the extreme version of the independent state legislature theory, it would open the door to tragic consequences for our freedom to vote,” says Christine Chen, the Executive Director of APIAVote. “The ability of state courts to be a check on legislative actions is one of the key safeguards we have against legislators ready to diminish our ability to vote. If ISLT is made the law of the land, it will cut the state courts out of the equation and leave our democracy in the hands of state legislatures. The bottom line is that the system of checks and balances that we know well in the federal context will be eviscerated in the context of state government if the ISLT is allowed to prevail.”
A decision in this case is expected by June 2023.
About APIAVote: Asian and Pacific Islander American Vote (APIAVote) is a leading national nonpartisan organization that works with partners to mobilize Asian American Pacific Islanders (AAPI) in electoral and civic participation. APIAVote envisions a world that is inclusive, fair, and collaborative, and where AAPI communities are self-determined, empowered, and engaged. See more information at https://www.apiavote.org/
About NCAAT: North Carolina Asian Americans Together (NCAAT) is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization committed to supporting equity and justice for all by fostering community among Asian Americans and allies in North Carolina through civic engagement, leadership development, grassroots mobilization and political participation. Learn more here: https://ncaatogether.org/