"[I]t would bring chaos to our election laws were it to be upheld"

While the Supreme Court could take a wide range of actions in the North Carolina case, experts and voting rights advocates say a full-throated endorsement of the independent state legislature theory by a court that has a 6-3 conservative majority could roll back limits on partisan gerrymandering, unwind voter-implemented changes like ranked-choice voting and gut voter protections against discrimination found in state constitutions and more.

Such a ruling would put state election codes and congressional redistricting plans entirely in the hands of partisan state legislatures, many of which have been repeatedly criticized by state courts and others for aggressively gerrymandering and enacting restrictive voting laws.

“We think this is a dangerous notion and it would bring chaos to our election laws were it to be upheld,” Michael Waldman, president of the Brennan Center for Justice at New York University, told reporters shortly after the court said it would take up the case. “It would be an extraordinary power grab by political actors were it to be upheld, and it would make it much, much harder or impossible for state courts to uphold voting rights, to combat gerrymandering, and otherwise to uphold the rights of citizens in our elections.”