The Supreme Court begins its new term this month with a North Carolina lawsuit. The election-related case could have huge national implications for 2024 and beyond.

In June the justices agreed to review Moore v. Harper which disputed state-drawn congressional maps following the 2020 census. The case is an appeal from North Carolina Republicans that challenges a state court ruling that threw out the congressional districts drawn by the General Assembly as partisan gerrymandering. It would have made GOP candidates likely victors in 10 of the state’s 14 congressional districts.

The justices will now consider whether state courts — after discovering state constitution violations — can mandate changes to federal elections and redrawing of congressional districts. 

UNC at Greensboro political science professor Hunter Bacot says given the nation’s hyper-partisanship and the likelihood of divided government, the implications are profound.

"The state legislatures will be the ones who will drive everything about elections in the United States," says Bacot. "You know that’s a dangerous territory because, I don’t mind if it goes back to the states per se, but to go back to the states — to the state legislature only — with no check or balance, that’s against our democratic republic principles."

Republican lawmakers say the U.S. Constitution's elections clause gives state legislatures the ability to decide how congressional elections proceed without checks and balances.

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