U.S. Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Robinson Bradshaw Clients in Major Election-Law Case



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June 27, 2023

The Supreme Court of the United States issued a major election-law decision today in Moore v. Harper. In that decision, the Supreme Court confirmed that state legislatures must follow their state constitutions when they regulate federal elections.

Robinson Bradshaw, together with co-counsel from Jenner & Block, represented the North Carolina League of Conservation Voters and several individual voters in this case. The firm’s participation included the filing of a complaint in Wake County Superior Court, a four-day trial, three trips to the North Carolina Supreme Court and the appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

In a 6-3 decision in favor of Robinson Bradshaw’s clients, the Supreme Court held that the U.S. Constitution’s Elections Clause “does not vest exclusive and independent authority in state legislatures to set the rules regarding federal elections.” The Court went on to confirm that when state legislatures regulate federal elections, they are subject to the “fundamental principle” of judicial review by state courts. The Court rejected the contrary “independent state legislature” theory — a theory that would have freed state legislatures from constraints imposed by state constitutions, including restraints on partisan gerrymandering, in the context of federal elections.

Robinson Bradshaw attorneys John R. Wester, Adam K. Doerr, Stephen D. Feldman and Erik R. Zimmerman, and paralegal Toni Mixon, all participated in the effort.

The Court's opinion is available here.

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