The Supreme Court on Monday rejected requests from Republicans to overturn new congressional maps approved by state courts in Pennsylvania and North Carolina, CNN reports.
North Carolina’s Supreme Court drew its own map after rejecting the districts drawn by Republican state lawmakers over partisan bias.
The Supreme Court, over dissents from Justices Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, and Neil Gorsuch, rejected a bid from Republican lawmakers to overturn the map, giving Democrats an additional favorable district in the state.
The GOP lawsuit effectively asked the Supreme Court to adopt the “Independent State Legislature” theory, which posits that only state legislatures, not state courts, can determine congressional districts under the Electors Clause of the Constitution, which gives legislatures the power to appoint presidential electors “in the manner” they choose.
Legal experts worried that if a majority of the Supreme Court upheld that theory, it would drastically undermine the Voting Rights Act and other electoral protections.
NC gets additional Democrat:
The ruling effectively means that Democrats are likely to win an additional seat in the state’s 14 districts.
"By denying this stay, the U.S. Supreme Court has recognized in line with many precedents that there is no constitutional basis for attempting to rewrite the North Carolina Supreme Court's decision at the 11th hour," former Obama Solicitor General Neal Katyal, a lawyer for a Democratic group that urged the court to reject the lawsuit, said in a statement.
"By leaving intact the decision by the North Carolina Supreme Court, the U.S. Supreme Court has paved the way for elections to proceed with the legislative and Congressional maps as ordered by the state courts," he added.
Alito, Thomas, and Gorsuch said they would have sided with the state lawmakers, arguing that Republicans would be “irreparably harmed” because they were denied an additional congressional seat.
In Pennsylvania, the Republican-led legislature drew a map that would have given Democrats a 9-8 advantage on the congressional map but Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf vetoed the proposal, saying that map allowed politicians to “take advantage of the process and choose their own voters." The state Supreme court ultimately adopted a proposed map that would give Democrats a 10-7 majority.
Republicans asked the Supreme Court to block the court-approved map but the court denied the bid.
The Supreme Court could still take on the cases after lower federal courts have ruled.