As the U.S. Supreme Court’s blockbuster term drew near to its end, the justices announced their decision to hear a redistricting case this autumn that has the potential to upend election laws in states all across the country, as ABC News reports.
The controversy at issue stems from disputes over new, Republican-created voting maps in North Carolina that were ultimately struck down by the state Supreme Court, as the Raleigh News & Observer noted at the time.
In nullifying the GOP-drawn districts in February, the North Carolina Supreme Court found that they were the product of unlawful partisan gerrymandering and that they were violations of free speech, free assembly, and equal protection guarantees within the state constitution.
Though GOP lawmakers asked the U.S. Supreme Court to intervene in the matter on an emergency basis almost immediately after the North Carolina high court’s ruling, and while the panel declined to do so at the time, four justices signaled their belief that the issues did merit a full hearing.
The justices have, however, now agreed to hear the appeal lodged by the Republican-led state legislature, and the outcome in the case could have massive ripple effects nationwide, according to observers.
ABC News political director Rick Klein said of the court’s decision to hear the matter, “This has the potential to change the rules of the game in far-reaching ways in time for the next presidential election.”
“Depending on how far the Supreme Court goes, it could virtually invite Republican-controlled legislatures to rewrite centuries-old laws ensuring that the candidate who gets the most votes in a state gets its electoral votes – and it even could free legislatures to pick electors on their own,” Klein opined, adding, “[i]t could wind up making it far easier for a future state legislature to actually do what Trump allies so desperately wanted done in the messy aftermath of the 2020 election.”
Heralding the justices’ decision to give the dispute a full hearing in the next term was North Carolina House Speaker Tim Moore, who declared, “This case is not only critical to election integrity in North Carolina, but has implications for the security of elections nationwide.”
Given the indisputably high stakes for the nation’s future held by the next presidential contest, the eyes of the nation will assuredly be on the results of this case, which will be handed down roughly one year from now at the latest.