I’ll be honest, I don’t know if the Supreme Court has been embarking on some kind of lame reputation rehabilitation tour to try to convince the American public that they’re not craven political hacks, or if the whole legal argument was so blatantly stupid and brain dead, but the SCOTUS came down on the side of the angels today.

In a 6-3 ruling, with judicial 1700’s throwbacks Alito and Thomas, along with Apostate justice Neil Gorsuch, the court ruled that the case brought by the North Carolina legislature, saying that state legislatures had plenary power over state election rules and laws, was too stupid to even be considered as a serious argument.

First a little background. This whack-a-doodle concept is nothing new, in fact it Bollocks to that. As argued in the Bush v Gore case in 2000. The basic argument is that the constitution gives to the state legislatures the right to control and enact laws and rules on voting in the states. Which far right legislators interpret to mean, Whatever the legislature says, goes. since the legislature sets voting laws and requirements, by plenary power they are not subject to state judicial review, including the state Supreme Court. They are a law unto themselves.

In the 6-3 decision today, the Supreme Court basically said Bollocks to that! Which is bad news for the GOP in more ways than one. For instance, it was this plenary power boondoggle that was the basis for the now infamous fake elector scheme allowing the state legislators to overturn the will of the people, and submit slates of electors of their own, following their political bent. This is bad news for any GOP state legislators hauled up in court for the fake elector scam, since the Supreme Court just said it won’t wash.

But there’s another entire can of worms that today’s SCOTIS ruling opens up. This whole thing originates in a North Carolina legislative pissing contest. The GOP dominated legislature drew a ridiculously gerrymandered map in what in what is basically purple state. The Democratic majority state Supreme Court ruled that the redistricting map asa unconstitutional.

The GOP North Carolina legislature threw a pissy fit, and went to federal court to argue that the NC state Supreme Court had any right to tell them what to do. After all, it was the United States constitution gave them plenary powers to set and administer state election law. The case was a loser from the start.

But here’s where it gets twisted. In 2022, while the North Carolina election lawsuit was already in the court system, the GOP won a seat on the NC Supreme Court that tipped the balance back to the GOP again. And the first damn thing that the newly reconfigured GOP NC Supreme Court did was to revisit the decision of the previous court, and to overturn it. Let the gerrymandering go on unabated.

But this decision today opens a whole new can of worms. Remember, the origin of this whole kerfuffle was that a Democratic state Supreme Court determined that the legislatures redistricting map was unconstitutional under state law. Which caused the GOP NC legislature to go to federal court to argue for plenary power.

Which the Supreme Court has now sent to the ash heap of history. But besides blowing a Titanic sized hole in the bow of any GOP state legislators hoping to use it as a defense in their fake electors case. But this ruling also opens up a brand new potential Democratic led lawsuit based on the SCOTUS ruling today.

Remember, this whole thing started because the NC Supreme Court found that the NC legislators gerrymandered map was unconstitutional. This led the GOP whinerbags in the legislature to file a federal lawsuit claiming that the state Supreme Court had no right to tell them what to do.
And while the case was tied up in the federal court system, the GOP gained a seat on the NC Supreme Court, and overturned the ruling made by the previous ruling.

Which begs a question for me. Since this SCOTUS decision was fueled by a NC state Supreme Court decision that the legislature overstepped its bounds, and the NC legislature had a hissy fit and went to court, and while the case was in federal court, the GOP retook the state Supreme Court, and overturned the previous Supreme Court’s ruling, does the SCOTUS ruling today overturn the NAC GOP Supreme Courts ruling as an Apple from the poisoned tree? After all, the courts ruling today was on the original NC state Supreme Court ruling. Does the courts ruling on the original NC case strike down the later GOP Supreme Court ruling in North Carolina?

I don’t know. And neither do you. But I’m guessing that we’re about to find out. One thing I do know for sure is that todays ruling takes a lot of steam out of GOP schemes to try to steal the 2024 election with such cheap parlor tricks. Ronna’s gonna have to get better game.

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  1. I note that this still affirms the right of courts to decide on election outcomes. So we may still see a repeat of Bush vs Gore in Florida, (where else?),and the hanging chad argument, and curtailing a disputed recounting.

    We would be living in a much more different world now if Gore had been ruled the rightful winner, (which he was), this is where Roger Stone et al first found out they could successfully cheat an election. Since then, they’ve not given up cheating.

    Imagine no Gulf War and anthropogenic climate change being treated seriously, and no Trump.

  2. There’s another aspect to the ruling I simply don’t know enough about to form an opinion on but it’s a troubling thing to have to dig in to. In broad strokes the decision is a good thing. Robert’s (who wrote the opinion) did a nice job in one passage pointing out the absurdity of the plaintiff’s arguments about the founder’s intent: He noted if the founders believed that crap there would be an Election Clause r.e. federal elections in the first place because the “unwritten portions” the plaintiffs insist are RIGHT THERE for any “rational” person to comprehend would render the actual Election Clause worthless and enenforceable. Ouch!

    However some legal analysist are saying while that door got slammed shut and locked another related on was left unlocked and could set up SCOTUS to wade in a lot more in election disputes in the future. Again, this is for me kind of like figuring out WTF is going on in Russia and with the fate of the Wagner Group. Every time I think I might have enough of a handle to write about it I read/hear something that makes me exclaim what retired humorist Dave Barry would call “extremely very bad words” because my idea(s) turned to crap.

    Hopefully tomorrow will bring some clarity as actual experts in Constitutional Law have had a chance to really dig into the opinion and parse it.


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