The claim: Donald Trump can be reinstated by the Supreme Court’s Moore v. Harper ruling
The Supreme Court returned for its 2022-2023 term in October prepared to hear new cases, including those that involve the power of state legislatures, discrimination against LGBTQ people and race-conscious admissions policies at colleges.
But one ongoing Supreme Court case has garnered considerable attention on social media: Moore v. Harper. A viral Facebook video claims the case may result in former President Donald Trump being reinstated to the nation’s highest office.
“Breaking! President Trump could be reinstated immediately by this Supreme Court decision!” reads the Oct. 5 post’s caption.
The video, which has been viewed more than 20,000 times, includes screenshots of posts from Trump’s Truth Social account, one of which mentions Moore v. But Harper doesn’t make the claim in the video caption. Similar posts have amassed hundreds of views on Facebook and Rumble.
But the claim is baseless.
There is no mechanism for Trump to be reinstated as president, according to experts. Constitutional law experts told USA TODAY Moore v. Harper has nothing to do with the 2020 election.
USA TODAY reached out to the social media users who shared the claim for comment.
Biden legitimately won the election
President Joe Biden won 306 electoral votes compared to Trump’s 232 in the 2020 presidential election, in addition to winning the popular vote 81 million to 74 million. Numerous recounts, reviews and forensic audits have confirmed these results are legitimate, as USA TODAY previously reported.
While the Trump campaign and its allies filed state and federal lawsuits to challenge the election results, all of those suits were either dismissed or failed, including those appealed to the Supreme Court.
Fact check: How we know the 2020 election results were legitimate, not ‘rigged’ as Donald Trump claims
There is also no constitutional mechanism for “reinstating” a former president after the House and Senate in a joint session have counted the electoral votes and the new president has been sworn into office, according to Theodore Rave, a constitutional law expert at the University of Texas at Austin.
“Congress determined that the electoral votes certified by the states in accordance with the outcome of the Nov. 3, 2020, election were valid and that any competing slates of electors – whether appointed by the state legislatures, self-appointed or appointed by anyone else – were disabled,” he said.
At this point, Trump can’t become the president without winning a future election, Chris Edelson, an assistant government professor at American University, told USA TODAY in an email.
Moore v. Harper’s ruling won’t lead to Trump’s reinstatement
A ruling on Moore v. Harper is expected next year, but no result will lead to Trump’s reinstatement, according to Rave. That is because the case has nothing to do with revisiting the outcome of the 2020 presidential election. Any decision by the high court would potentially affect future federal elections, but not previous ones, as USA TODAY has reported.
The case emerged after North Carolina’s Supreme Court struck down congressional districts drawn by the state’s legislature as an illegal gerrymander that violated the North Carolina Constitution, according to Rave.
The core issue in the case is a clause in the Constitution that delegates responsibility for federal election rules to state legislatures, subject to oversight by Congress, as USA TODAY reported. Some members of the North Carolina state legislature are arguing that under this clause they should have the sole power to draw congressional districts, regardless of what the state constitution or other state entities say, Rave explained.
More: How an upcoming Supreme Court case could upend 2024 election laws, lawsuits
In the Facebook video, the narrator claims that during the 2020 election, state legislatures from seven different states put forward separate electors for Trump. The narrator goes on to state that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the North Carolina state lawmakers in Moore v. Harper, those electors would be valid and the seven states would flip “constitutionally and legally,” thereby making Trump the president.
But experts said this is nonsense.
Edelson said there were no dueling electors in any legitimate sense. There is, however, evidence of an effort by Trump and his allies to use slates of fake electors to overturn the 2020 election, as USA TODAY previously reported.
These fake electors met in seven states – Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, New Mexico, Nevada and Wisconsin – on Dec. 14, 2020, and signed documents falsely claiming they were the “duly elected” electors from their respective states, at the Trump campaign’s request, as USA TODAY previously reported.
The Jan. 6 committee on Dec. 19 recommended the Department of Justice charge Trump – among other things – with conspiracy to make a false statement for his role in the scheme to submit alternate slates of electors.
Lead Stories also debunked the Moore v. Harper claims.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Trump can be reinstated by the Supreme Court’s ruling on Moore v. Harper. There is no constitutional mechanism for reinstating a former president to office. Congress determined that the electoral votes for the 2020 election certified by the states were valid. No ruling made in the Moore v. Harper case will lead to Trump being reinstated, experts say.
Our fact-check sources:
Lead Stories, Oct. 10, Fact Check: President Trump Would NOT Be Reinstated Immediately By Supreme Court Decision — It’s About Redistricting NOT 2020 Election
Rick Pildes, Oct. 14, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Frank Bowman, Oct. 14-17, Phone interview with USA TODAY
Chris Edelson, Oct. 14, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Theodore Rave, Oct. 14-17, Email exchange with USA TODAY
Kermit Roosevelt, Oct. 17, Email exchange with USA TODAY
USA TODAY, Oct. 3, OnPolitics: The Supreme Court returns with important questions and cases
USA TODAY, Oct. 3, Supreme Court kicks off a new term with controversial cases – and a new justice
USA TODAY, Sept. 30, Supreme Court: A look at the key cases and questions pending before the nation’s high court
USA TODAY, July 11, How an upcoming Supreme Court case could upend 2024 election laws, lawsuits
USA TODAY, July 19, Fact check: False claim that the Supreme Court overturned the 2020 election
Associated Press, Feb. 22, 2021, Supreme Court rejects Trump election challenge cases
NBC News, Sept. 21, Dozens of Trump’s phony electors, many under investigation, still hold powerful GOP jobs in key states
USA TODAY, June 22, As new details of Trump team’s fake electors scheme emerge, here’s what we know
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: False claim Trump can be reinstated by Moore v. Harper