Amicus Brief: Moore v. Harper

by Bartlett Cleland

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Introduction

The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) has submitted an amicus brief in a case pending before the U.S. Supreme Court. The North Carolina case, Moore v. Harper,  addresses the constitutional right of state legislatures to determine the “times, places, and manner of federal elections.”

ALEC and its members have a strong interest in this case because Article I of the U.S. Constitution expressly provides that rules for federal congressional elections are established in each state by the state legislature.” The North Carolina Supreme Court disregarded that clear command, unconstitutionally substituting its own redistricting preferences.” The decision made in the North Carolina Supreme Court is clearly in error and must be reversed as a state constitutional provision cannot withdraw or limit the Federal Constitution’s express grant of authority to state legislatures.

If the North Carolina decision is permitted to stand, state courts will usurp the prerogatives of state legislatures. As already stated by the U.S. Supreme Court just two years ago,  “The Constitution provides that state legislatures—not federal judges, not state judges, not state governors, not other state officials—bear primary responsibility for setting election rules.”

As ALEC argues to the Court, “The Framers could have assigned the power over federal elections in the first instance to states, without specifying which entity of state government would have primary responsibility. But recognizing that prescribing the times, places, and manner of federal elections is fundamentally a legislative role, the Framers specified that this delegated power would be exercised by “the Legislature thereof.”

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