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Robert Namer
Voice Of America
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January 24, 2023

     The Supreme Court’s upcoming case on who holds the final say on election rules would be largely confined to the pages of law review journals and backrooms of state legislatures in any other era, but in the era of Trump, the case has taken on melodramatic proportions with liberal activists warning that nothing short of American democracy is at stake. States should make election laws.

     Legal scholars are more circumspect, though some echo the activists’ warnings that American elections could look markedly different if the justices side with North Carolina legislators and rule that state assemblies, not state courts, have the final say in how elections are conducted.  “This case is about checks and balances. What kind of world is it where state legislators can do whatever they want when it comes to elections?” said Neal Katyal, an acting solicitor general in the Obama administration who will argue against the North Carolina lawmakers. “What these folks are asking for is extraordinary, and it would totally change the way elections are done.  

     Republican lawmakers said that ran afoul of the Constitution’s elections clause, which reads: “The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.”  The Republican lawmakers say that language means state assemblies set final rules that state courts can’t override.  

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