Soon, the U.S. Supreme Court is going to decide if multiracial democracy has a future here.
The highest court is expected rule. Moore v. Harper by June 2023, and the stakes of the case couldn’t be higher. If it doesn’t go according to plan, this case couldMass purges of voters, drastic restrictions to popular early vote hours and locations and discriminatory barriers to voting access are all part of the plan. There are also fewer protections against voter intimidation.
How we got here begins with North Carolina’s last redistricting case to make it to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019, when the justices themselves laid out a path for Voters to pick their leaders — not the other way around.
Its decision in that case was Rucho v. Common Cause, arose after North Carolina’s lawmakers put politics over people and rigged our voting maps so that, in the Old North State, Republicans would always come up winners.
I was one the North Carolina lawyers who argued for the RuchoThe court heard the case. Maryland voters were also affected by the manipulations of Democratic legislators.
Chief Justice John Roberts was the majority vote in favor of the 5-4 opinion. told us that partisan gerrymandering was “incompatible with democratic principles” but that federal courts weren’t the place to bring lawsuits about partisan gerrymandering because it was a “political question” better left to the states. The chief justice informed voters that they could challenge unfair voting maps to state court, which are charged with protecting fundamental rights under state constitutions.
So, when North Carolina lawmakers in 2021 unfortunately once again carved up our state’s maps for partisan gain — disenfranchising primarily Black voters to give Republicans an advantage in coming elections — we asked state courts to intervene.
The North Carolina Supreme Court reacted. issued a historic ruling, declaring partisan gerrymandering illegal in our state. This landmark ruling was in favor of voters and the responsive areas they deserve. It also served as vindication to the hundreds of thousands who marched, testified, and used their voices for fair maps.
These North Carolina lawmakers refuse to give up, and now they are trying to make a desperate bid to get to the U.S. Supreme Court. They want a majority to abandon the promise of RuchoThose who seek reform at the state level should be held accountable.
In the present case Moore v. HarperSouthern Coalition for Social Justice, my nonpartisan organization, represents Common Cause’s advocates in a case that many consider one of the most important cases regarding voting rights since. Shelby County v. Holder (2013).
In Moore, North Carolina lawmakers, led by Speaker of the House Tim Moore, are relying on a fringe legal idea espoused by a handful of politicians called the “independent state legislature theory.” Using an illogical and ahistorical reading of the U.S. Constitution — already dismissed by the Supreme Court as recently as 2015 — state politicians claim they shouldn’t be subject to the checks and balances we all expect from 3 co-equal branches of state government. Instead, they demand unchecked authority to draw Congressional maps or run federal elections.
Should five of the justices side with the lawmakers’ scheme, Moore This would create an unstable election system that pits state and local elections against new federal election rules. Legislators would be free to violate voters’ rights, and state courts couldn’t stop them.
Specifically, this case could give state lawmakers justification to restrict our votes, draw rigged maps, and cast doubt on our election results — all in the name of partisan gain.
It’s clear that a bad result in Moore could disproportionately harm Black, Native, Asian American and Pacific Islander, and Latinx voters, but they aren’t the only ones at risk here — Americans of all races and political leanings would feel the repercussions of such an extreme outcome. Voters who seek fair representation through checks and balances in state courts would be hurt in both Republican and Democratic states.
An extreme outcome in MooreThis is a lose-lose scenario for Americans, and it would make it harder for voters to change public sentiment into policy. From abortion access and Medicaid expansion, to closing the digital gap and expanding disaster aid and recovery, Moore Voters would be less informed about the issues that drive them to the polls..
Those who oppose threats to democracy and election integrity that are posed by MooreThey have joined hands in a national campaignSouthern Coalition for Social Justice and Common Cause will lead the effort to engage our communities, tell stories, and organize hundreds and thousands of new advocates through rallies, town halls, and voter registration. Over the next few months, we’ll educate the public about this full-throated attack on multiracial democracy from a few rogue legislators — felt everywhere from church basements to busy boardrooms to the neighborhood ballot box this November.
North Carolinians over the last decade have defeated endless attempts to rig electoral districts, delegitimize courts, and disenfranchise Black residents. Our people stopped plots by partisans to gerrymander our congressional areas, pack our courts, and create racist barriers to voting access such as photo voter ID. Not only have we defeated attempts to gerrymander them, but also, we stopped attempts to gerrymander the districts in 2019. As in those cases in, in MooreWe have history, legal precedent, and common sense to support our case.
As the date of Supreme Court’s momentous ruling on Moore approaches, let’s all work together to signal to our elected leaders that people, not politicians, are worth the fight for multiracial democracy. This means that Congress must pass comprehensive voting rights reforms, such as John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act. We can create an inclusive democracy where all citizens can thrive, participate, and have their voices heard.