Next term SCOTUS case will decide whether federal govt has any say in election laws

On Thursday, the Supreme Court decided to take up a North Carolina case that will have implications for all elections nationally, since it will determine whether elections are only state matters or whether the federal government can also make election laws.

Republicans have generally said that elections are state matters, citing a provision in the Constitution that says the manner of federal elections “shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof.”

Typically, state courts step in when a problem is raised with election rules or procedures, which sometimes occurs when the legislature is too partisan and makes rules that favor one side or another.

Those watching the North Carolina case are worried that if the Supreme Court says only states can regulate elections, it will threaten voting initiatives like ranked-choice voting or protections against discrimination.

Concerns raised

Aggressive gerrymandering is another concern raised by those that don’t think states should have exclusive rights to set election rules.

“We think this is a dangerous notion and it would bring chaos to our election laws were it to be upheld,” president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University Michael Waldman told reporters about the Supreme Court’s decision to take the case. “It would be an extraordinary power grab by political actors were it to be upheld, and it would make it much, much harder or impossible for state courts to uphold voting rights, to combat gerrymandering, and otherwise to uphold the rights of citizens in our elections.”

While there seems to be much handwringing on the left about the possibility that they wouldn’t be able to enact federal legislation to regulate elections if the ruling from the lower court is upheld, it’s hard to understand why delegating election laws to states would make it impossible for state courts to uphold voting rights.

In all likelihood, it would just be more difficult to control elections at the federal level, and there’s nothing wrong with that.

If states are not following their own rules or state courts deem election redistricting too partisan, there would still be remedy through state courts and elections themselves.


The federal government just can’t get past the belief that it ought to control everything at every level, particularly when Democrats are in charge.

The real power grab in election law was the Freedom to Vote Act that Democrats tried to pass early in Biden’s term, but which failed because of the Senate filibuster that Democrats are desperate to get rid of.

It’s a good thing Democrats are not likely to be in power in Congress much longer, because all their power-grabbing has the country in the direst straits we’ve seen since the Carter administration.

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