Baltimore Sun

Supreme Court case could lead to minority rule


Thank you for the vitally important commentary, “The Supreme Court is poised to cut the heart out of majority rule” (July 11). Every U.S. citizen must understand the peril we are in from the power-lust of our political parties. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to take a case, Moore v. Harper, in its upcoming fall term that could degrade our democracy and reduce our freedom and standard of living.

Some may object that the point of the

Bill of Rights is to protect the minority from the majority. Yes, there must be limits to majority rule so that the majority does not suppress freedom of speech, assembly, religion and so that the rights of minority ethnic and racial groups are protected.

The objective of the plaintiffs in this case, however, is to allow minority political parties to hold unchecked power by setting the rules of elections. The plaintiffs claim unlimited power even for gerrymande­red state legislatur­es that, at least in some cases, do not represent the majority of the voters in their respective states. The “independen­t state legislatur­e theory” would give absolute power to state legislatur­es to contradict state constituti­ons which the legislatur­es themselves have authored or adopted.

The single most devastatin­g power that state legislatur­es could gain would be to hold an election for presidenti­al electors and then — ignoring the will of the voters — replace the winning electors with those of its own party. State courts would be powerless to overturn such a decision.

The theory is based on a narrow reading of one clause in the U.S. Constituti­on, but it ignores other key principles such as Article V, which guarantees the citizens of every state a Republican form of government.

Although the case is ostensibly about setting rules in federal elections, its implicatio­ns are far broader.

A gerrymande­red state legislatur­e could keep itself in power even if a substantia­l majority of voters favored a different party. Then it could set rules about federal elections and state elections.

That outcome would be the opposite of “a Republican form of government.” It would be tyranny. Once partisan power is thus ensconced, corruption would increase, and citizens would lose both their personal freedoms and their economic independen­ce.

— Charlie Cooper, Baltimore The writer is president of

Get Money Out — Maryland.

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