RALEIGH — The U.S. Supreme Court denied a motion to stay the court-drawn congressional map that will now be used in the state’s 2022 elections.
The court voted to deny the application by a 6-3 decision, with Chief Justice John Roberts, Justice Brett Kavanaugh and Justice Amy Coney Barrett joining the court’s three Democrats to deny the motion.
Justice Samuel Alito joined with Justices Clarence Thomas and Neil Gorsuch to dissent from the majority on the application.
“We are disappointed in the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision allowing elections under a congressional map drawn by the conflict-ridden special masters to continue. While we’re focusing on the 2022 elections, we will continue to evaluate this decision and next steps in this case,” Senate Leader Phil Berger (R-Eden) said in a statement following the decision.
The map, drawn by special masters, will likely give Democrats an additional House seat in 2023.
The justices provided no explanation for their actions, as is common in emergency applications on what is known as the “shadow docket.”
While the high court did not stop the state court-ordered plan from being used in this year’s elections, four conservative justices indicated they want it to confront the issue that could dramatically limit the power of state courts over federal elections in the future, the Associated Press reported. The Republicans argued that state courts lack the authority to second-guess legislatures’ decisions about the conduct of elections for Congress and the presidency.
“We will have to resolve this question sooner or later, and the sooner we do so, the better. This case presented a good opportunity to consider the issue, but unfortunately the court has again found the occasion inopportune,” Justice Samuel Alito wrote in a dissent from the Supreme Court’s order, joined by Justices Neil Gorsuch and Clarence Thomas.
Justice Brett Kavanaugh made a similar point, but said he didn’t want to interfere in this year’s electoral process, which already is underway. The filing deadline in North Carolina was Friday.
The state courts were involved after a coordinated effort by left-leaning groups to attack Republican redistricting plans led by former Obama administration Attorney General Eric Holder.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.