In Moore v. Harper Case, U.S. Supreme Court Upholds Accountability

Statement by Dr. Jennifer Jones, Union of Concerned Scientists

Published Jun 27, 2023

Washington (June 27, 2023)—The U.S. Supreme Court issued an important decision in Moore v. Harper today, finding that the state Supreme Court in North Carolina had the power to review and judge the constitutionality of district maps drawn by the North Carolina state legislature. This decision averts a serious threat to democracy, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS).

Below is a statement by Dr. Jennifer Jones, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at UCS.

“The basic premise of governance in the United States is accountability. Through free and fair elections and checks and balances between different branches of government, governments at every level—local, state, and federal—are held accountable to their constituents. Partisan gerrymandering, where legislators use biased maps to evade accountability to the voters, violates that fundamental principle. Today’s decision in Moore v. Harper preserves democratic accountability in the face of a power grab by state legislators. The Court’s opinion correctly notes that the U.S. Constitution ‘does not insulate state legislatures from the ordinary exercise of state judicial review.’

“This 6-3 decision should put an end to the radical theory that state legislatures can operate without being bound by state constitutions or judicial review. The fight to end partisan gerrymanders is still ongoing, and politicians in North Carolina and other states may still try to lock in their power through biased maps, but today’s decision confirms that those legislators’ power is not absolute. Today’s decision is a relief for everyone concerned with free and fair elections.”