SCOTUS just blocked a dangerous GOP attack on democracy
For the second time this month, Roberts and Kavanaugh frustrate the Republican push for one-party rule.
Personal note from Aaron: My father’s funeral was Saturday, and I’m taking a step back from work for a couple weeks to grieve and clear my head. (ICYMI, you can read my tribute to my dad here and his obituary here.) I appreciate your support during this difficult time. You’ll be seeing less of my writing in the newsletter through the week of the 4th of July, but thankfully I have lots of good stuff lined up from brilliant contributors like Lisa, Thor Benson, and Noah Berlatsky.
Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court decided a case, Moore v. Harper, that’s an absolute blockbuster — albeit one slightly off the radar because this entire SCOTUS term is full of them. But the court’s ruling in Moore makes it harder for Republican legislatures to hijack elections, as Donald Trump wanted them to do following his loss in 2020, and preserves a check on blatant partisan gerrymandering. These are both big victories for democracy.
Moore was about an arcane yet dangerous idea called the “independent state legislature doctrine” (ISLD). ISLD holds that state legislative actions regarding elections, including partisan gerrymandering, are insulated from review by state courts. Thankfully, a majority of the Supreme Court — Chief Justice John Roberts, the court’s three-member liberal wing, and conservative Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — didn’t quite buy that.
In a somewhat surprising turn of events, the Moore ruling marks the second time this month that Roberts and Kavanaugh have joined with the liberals to block the GOP’s push for one-party rule in red states. As North Carolina’s largest newspaper put it in an editorial, “Republicans are too reckless even for this Supreme Court.”