Oral argument in the North Carolina Superior Court in Harper v. Hall

Screengrab North Carolina Supreme Court

Left to right: Michael Morgan, North Carolina Supreme Court Justice, Paul Newby, North Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice, and North Carolina Supreme Court Justice Anita Earls. (Screengrab via the North Carolina Supreme Court)

The North Carolina Supreme Court heard hearings in the rare and much-anticipated rerun of Harper v. Hall Tuesday, a local gerrymandering challenge that may mean an overhaul of US electoral practices. By taking the unusual step of granting a repeat hearing, the Tar Heel State Supreme Court may have delayed much broader action by the US Supreme Court.

Court conservatives also flexed their political muscles after the 2022 election turned their balance from Democratic to Republican.

In February 2022, when the North Carolina Supreme Court had a 4-3 Democrat majority, it scrapped the district maps in a narrow ruling, finding that the maps unlawfully discriminated against. Now the court has a 5-2 Republican majority and is reconsidering that finding.

The dispute over North Carolina’s congressional tickets sparked not only litigation in state court, but also a much broader dispute in the Supreme Court. In the relevant federal case Moore vs. Harper, North Carolina Republicans challenged the “independent state legislature” theory and asked the US Supreme Court to consider whether North Carolina courts have the authority to interfere in district maps. Tar Heel State Republicans argue that courts have no authority to challenge legislative decisions on congressional tickets.

Judges heard hearings on the matter in early December but have not yet ruled on the case.

https://lawandcrime.com/voting-rights/north-carolinas-top-court-gives-gop-second-shot-at-favorable-maps-potentially-scuttling-scotus-election-overhaul/ Oral argument in the North Carolina Superior Court in Harper v. Hall

Brian Ashcraft

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