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North Carolina Supreme Court rehears redistricting case vital to Moore v. Harper
By Kaelan Deese,
The newly formed conservative majority on North Carolina 's highest court will consider whether to reverse the court's decision last year overturning partisan redistricting maps on Tuesday, a move that could determine the fate of a high-profile Supreme Court elections case known as Moore v. Harper .
Legal experts have suggested the top state court's new 5-2 Republican-appointed majority may signal the justices intend to override a decision against the Republican-drawn maps from last year. The state's GOP leadership appealed the decision up to the U.S. Supreme Court while also asking the nine justices to weigh in on a contentious legal theory that alarmed Democratic election lawyers.
Not only did Republicans want the Supreme Court to reinstate the redistricting maps, but they also asked the high court to adopt the so-called independent state legislature theory, which would prevent state courts from reviewing lawmakers' actions regarding federal elections and give legislators unfettered power over voting rules and redistricting.
Democratic election lawyers such as Marc Elias had warned adopting the ISL theory, which has never been embraced by the high court, would prompt a wave of new restrictions that could jeopardize fair elections, while Republicans said it would limit activist state courts from undermining legislative decision-making.
During December arguments, the U.S. Supreme Court's 6-3 Republican-appointed majority appeared sympathetic to North Carolina's GOP in its bid to overturn the state court's decision but appeared hesitant to embrace ISL theory.
Earlier this month, the Supreme Court asked parties in the case to weigh in by March 20 on whether the highest court still had jurisdiction over the matter following the North Carolina Supreme Court's decision to rehear the case, which began in lower courts as Harper v. Hall .