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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.

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.



Brief­ing on Applic­a­tion for Stay

Brief­ing on Peti­tion for Certi­or­ari

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