Brunswick Beacon, 07.06.23
The Supreme Court’s June 27th decision in the Moore v. Harper case produced a big sigh of relief for all who believe our country should remain a democracy, not become an autocracy. In spite of the Court’s far-right wing majority, apparently the North Carolina General Assembly’s MAGA power grab crossed a line.
The “Moore” in Moore v. Harper is scandal-ridden Tim Moore, MAGA Republican Speaker of the House in the NC General Assembly. Moore is embroiled in a distasteful sex imbroglio involving an alleged affair with a married, mid-level government employee, the latest in a long list of purported misdeeds. For example, he was the subject of an FBI inquiry in 2015 into his failure to itemize thousands of campaign expenditures. But I digress.
Speaker Moore and his cronies asserted that they alone, as state legislators, should decide the outcome of elections. They jumped on the bandwagon of the fringe “Independent State Legislature Theory,” popularized by the loser of the 2020 presidential election, and rode it all the way to the Supreme Court. The theory wrongly argues that state legislatures have the authority to “nullify their own state’s presidential election results, disenfranchising potentially millions of Americans in the process” (Griffiths, Yahoo News).
Thankfully, the Supreme Court took seriously the stellar arguments on behalf of democracy asserted by the legal team representing Becky Harper. Six of the nine justices rebuked the Trump-backed fanatical theory and ruled that the Elections Clause does not exempt state legislatures from judicial review or give them unfettered power. Authoritarian legislators like Tim Moore cannot disregard our state constitution and trample the will of the people.
Moore’s case is a warning to all of us that elections matter. People who believe they are above the law and have a partisan right to decide election outcomes — regardless of legitimate voter outcomes — should not be trusted with the keys to our democracy.