Every day I read something else about the horror that the U.S. Supreme Court could visit upon elections if it decides in an upcoming case from North Carolina in the way everyone thinks the 6-to-3 conservative SCOTUS will decide.
However, one Slate writer says there is a way forward that would essentially cut SCOTUS off at the pass:
In a one-line order last week, the Supreme Court planted a ticking time bomb that now threatens American democracy. The court agreed to hear a case in which North Carolina legislative leaders argue that state legislatures should be free to regulate congressional elections without any constraints from other state actors. If adopted, this position would revive the Republican gerrymander of North Carolina’s congressional districts, which a state court struck down on state constitutional grounds. In other cases, this position would mean that state legislatures could subvert congressional elections without pushback from governors, state courts, or even state electorates.
Fortunately, Congress doesn’t have to sit back and wait for the court’s next potential blow against democracy. Under the same constitutional provision invoked by North Carolina’s politicians, Congress can indisputably nullify their claim of absolute electoral power—and all others like it. That provision is the elections clause of Article I. North Carolina’s politicians fixate on the first half of the clause, which says that “the Legislature” of each state shall regulate the “Times, Places and Manner” of congressional elections. But the clause’s second half authorizes Congress to override any state policies about congressional elections with which it disagrees. “Congress may at any time … make or alter such Regulations.”
To nip the North Carolina case in the bud, then, all Congress has to do is pass a short statute ratifying all state regulations of congressional elections that are compliant with state constitutions. State constitutions commonly give regulatory roles to many nonlegislative actors: governors who can veto bills, state courts who can review laws’ constitutionality, bureaucrats who can set certain policies, even voters who can launch initiatives. Under the proposed statute, all these actors’ efforts would be immunized against North Carolina–style challenges. That’s because gubernatorial vetoes, state court decisions, state agency rules, and voter initiatives would all now have the imprimatur of federal law.
I’m always amazed at the number of people who think that SCOTUS has the final say through the decisions it hand down. But Congress has very clearly been, in the Constitution, set up as being able to put the brakes on an out-of-control Supreme Court.
Yet another reason — how many do we need, at this point? — to do everything we can to make sure that 1) Republicans do not take over the House or the Senate and, 2) we get two more Democratic U.S. senators elected to the Senate to nullify those idiots Manchin and Sinema.