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Moore v. Harper

Relying on the radical and meritless “independent state legislature” theory, North Carolina legislators are asking the U.S. Supreme Court to reinstate gerrymandered congressional maps that the state supreme court struck down for violating the state constitution.

Last Updated: October 26, 2022
Published: July 12, 2022

Case Background

In November 2021, voters and non-profit organizations challenged the extreme partisan gerrymander of North Carolina’s congressional map, contending that it violated the state constitution’s “free elections clause,” among other provisions.

On February 4, 2022, the North Carolina Supreme Court held that the gerrymandered map was unconstitutional. After the legislature proposed another gerrymander for a replacement map, the state trial court, pursuant to a process created by the legislature, adopted a special-master drawn plan for the 2022 congressional elections.

On February 25, 2022, two North Carolina legislators asked the U.S. Supreme Court for an emergency stay of the state court decisions, relying on the radical “independent state legislature” theory. The Supreme Court denied the application for a stay on March 7, 2022.

On March 17, 2022, the state legislators petitioned for a writ of certiorari, asking the Supreme Court to hear the case on the merits. The Court decided to take the case on June 30, 2022, adding it to its list of cases to be argued during the term that begins this fall.

The immediate issue in Moore is whether the state legislators’ extreme partisan gerrymander will stand in North Carolina. In arguing for this outcome, the legislators have asked the Court to embrace the “independent state legislature” theory for the first time. If adopted by the Supreme Court, the theory could wreak havoc on American democracy. Find more resources about the dangers of the “independent state legislature” theory here.

 

Documents

Briefing on Application for Stay

Briefing on Petition for Certiorari

Briefing on Merits

Amicus Briefs in Support of Petitioners

Amicus Briefs in Support of Neither Party

Amicus Briefs in Support of Respondents

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