The Supreme Court on Tuesday rebuffed a legal theory that argued that state legislatures have the authority to set election rules with little oversight from state courts, a major decision [in Moore v. Harper] that turns away a conservative push to empower state legislatures.
By a 6-3 vote, the court rejected the “independent state legislature” theory in a case about North Carolina’s congressional map. The once-fringe legal theory broadly argued that state courts have little — or no — authority to question state legislatures on election laws for federal contests.
Chief Justice John Roberts wrote the court’s opinion, joined by the three liberal justices, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan and Ketanji Brown Jackson, along with two conservatives, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. Justices Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and Neil Gorsuch dissented.
In doing so, the nation’s top court maintained the power of state courts to review election laws under state constitutions, while urging federal courts to “not abandon their own duty to exercise judicial review.”