McClatchy: Supreme Court hears NC case on elections, with big implications for 2024 and beyond
But the legislature’s opponents, led by Common Cause and Supreme Court litigator Neal Katyal, said there is far more historical precedent in favor of continuing the same set of checks and balances that have always been in place.
Katyal also said the Supreme Court has been incredibly hesitant in the past to rule on state constitutional issues. Yet ruling in favor of North Carolina lawmakers in Moore v. Harper, he said, would render state constitutions toothless in every state in the country — at least when it comes to protecting voting rights.
“Frankly I’m not sure I’ve ever come across a theory in this court that would invalidate more state constitutional clauses,” he said.
He said that ruling in favor of Moore and the other state lawmakers could endanger state constitutional protections across the country, like guarantees of fair elections, or of secrecy at the ballot box. ...
Katyal later told the justices there’s good reason for them to be confused.
“We can’t tell you what we think (the legislature’s) theory honestly is,” he said. “What they just told you is the opposite of how they started out on page one of their brief.”
Several of the court’s more conservative justices pushed back, suggesting that the legislature’s argument wasn’t as flawed as Katyal suggested. Clarence Thomas — the only current justice who endorsed this theory when it was raised unsuccessfully as part of the Bush v. Gore case in 2000 — pressed Katyal with numerous questions about legal precedent.