US Supreme Court hears Republican bid to transform U.S. elections
Supreme Court returns to immigration in test of Biden's power to choose deportation targets
The latest immigration case at the high court is one of several challenging Biden's ability to make policy without clear authorization from Congress.Biden's administration wants to focus enforcement on immigrants who pose a threat to national security or public safety. But that approach, which officials announced last year, represents a departure from the Trump administration's more sweeping tactics. And two conservatives states, Texas and Louisiana, sued over the strategy.
By Andrew Chung and Nate Raymond
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -The U.S. Supreme Court began hearing arguments on Wednesday in a Republican appeal that could transform American elections by giving politicians more power over voting rules and curbing the ability of state courts to scrutinize their actions in a major case involving North Carolina congressional districts.
Republican state lawmakers are appealing a decision by North Carolina's top court to throw out a map delineating the state's 14 U.S. House of Representatives districts - approved last year by the Republican-controlled state legislature - as unlawfully biased against Democratic voters.
Web designer opposed to gay marriage at center of U.S. Supreme Court clash
By Andrew Chung WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The wedding websites that Colorado-based web designer Lorie Smith would like to create for clients might offer ceremony details, pictures, a story about the couple and a biblical quote celebrating how through marriage they "become one flesh." They would not, however, show same-sex nuptials. Smith, an evangelical Christian who believes marriage is only between a man and a woman, has taken her fight to refuse to make wedding websites for same-sex couples and to advertise that policy to the U.S. Supreme Court in a major case to be argued on Monday. Smith is appealing lower court rulings backing Colorado.
The Republicans are asking the Supreme Court, which has a 6-3 conservative majority, to embrace a once-marginal legal theory that has gained favor among some conservatives called the "independent state legislature" doctrine. Under that doctrine, they claim that the U.S. Constitution gives state legislatures, - and not other entities such as state courts - authority over election rules and electoral district maps.
Critics have said that the theory, if accepted, could upend American democratic norms by restricting a crucial check on partisan political power and breed voter confusion with rules that vary between state and federal contests. North Carolina's Department of Justice is now defending the actions of the state's high court alongside the voters and voting rights groups that challenged the Republican-drawn map. They are backed by Democratic President Joe Biden's administration.
Did the Supreme Court flip the House by refusing to enforce the Voting Rights Act?
The Republicans can thank five of the six Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents.The Republicans can thank five of the six Supreme Court justices appointed by Republican presidents ¾ Samuel Alito, Amy Coney Barrett, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Clarence Thomas. The election outcome was very likely changed by their Feb. 7, 2022, decision to make it clear that the Voting Rights Act would not be enforced this year to prevent states from using congressional districts drawn in violation of the law.
At the outset of the arguments, David Thompson, a lawyer for the state lawmakers, told the justices that the Constitution "requires state legislatures specifically to perform the federal function of prescribing regulations for federal elections. States lack the authority to restrict the legislature’s substantive discretion when performing this federal function."
The Supreme Court's eventual decision, due by the end of June, could apply to 2024 elections including the U.S. presidential race.
The doctrine is based in part on language in the Constitution stating that the "times, places and manner" of federal elections "shall be prescribed in each state by the legislature thereof."
The Republican lawmakers have argued that the state court unconstitutionally usurped the North Carolina General Assembly's authority to regulate federal elections. Conservative voter advocacy groups backing them have endorsed the doctrine to curb what they describe as brazen attempts by liberals and Democrats to rewrite election laws through the courts.
Eric Holder "extremely concerned" about Supreme Court elections case
The court will hear arguments Wednesday in a case involving the "independent state legislature theory.""It is something that if the Supreme Court goes along with it, would really upend our system of checks and balances. And it's for that reason that I am extremely concerned," Holder said in an interview with "Face the Nation." "It is a fringe theory.
The case has come to the Supreme Court at a time of sharp divisions over voting rights in the United States as Republican state legislatures have pursued new voting restrictions in the aftermath of Republican former President Donald Trump's false claims that the 2020 election was stolen from him through widespread voting fraud.
The doctrine could endanger thousands of election-related state constitutional provisions, rules adopted by state elections officials and voter referendum-powered reforms, according to New York University School of Law's Brennan Center for Justice.
Some elections experts have said the doctrine could make it easier for a state legislature's majority party to draw congressional district boundaries to entrench its own power, a practice called gerrymandering. They also have said it could hinder challenges on issues such as voter-identification requirements, mail-in ballots and ballot drop boxes, and could factor into lawsuits that arise in the heat of an election.
North Carolina's legislature passed its version of the congressional map in November 2021. Two groups of plaintiffs, including Democratic voters and an environmental group, then sued, arguing that the map violated state constitutional provisions concerning free elections and freedom of assembly, among others.
The North Carolina Supreme Court struck down the map in February, concluding that the way the districts were crafted was intentionally biased against Democrats, diluting their "fundamental right to equal voting power." A lower state court subsequently rejected the legislature's redrawn map and adopted a new map drawn by a bipartisan group of experts. The Supreme Court in March declined a Republican request to put those lower court actions on hold.
(Reporting by Andrew Chung; Editing by Will Dunham)
Marjorie Taylor Greene blames Lindsey Graham and Mitch McConnell for losing Georgia runoffs and says it's 'extremely insulting' she wasn't used more by Walker campaign .
Marjorie Taylor Greene told Steve Bannon that it was "extremely insulting" that she wasn't invited to more of Walker's campaign events."This is for Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham and the rest of the Republican senators; you guys are the reasons why we are losing Republican races all over the country," Greene said during an appearance on Steve Bannon's War Room on Wednesday, per Yahoo News.