WASHINGTON, D.C. — Leaders from Common Cause and Southern Coalition for Social Justice (SCSJ) spoke out about the stakes posed in Moore v. Harper, the major voting rights case that went before the U.S. Supreme Court for oral arguments Wednesday.
Moore v. Harper involves a dangerous, flimsy legal argument that seeks to eliminate long standing checks and balances and allow state lawmakers to exercise nearly unchecked power to manipulate federal elections. This Supreme Court case is an appeal by North Carolina Republicans of Harper v. Hall, a landmark state court case in which the N.C. Supreme Court determined the congressional map enacted by Republicans in the state legislature was an unconstitutional partisan gerrymander. As a result of that ruling, a state court ultimately adopted a fair congressional map.
Neal Katyal, a partner with Hogan Lovells and former acting Solicitor General of the United States, argued Wednesday at the U.S .Supreme Court on behalf of non-state respondents, including Common Cause, Rebecca Harper, and the N.C. League of Conservation Voters. The National Redistricting Foundation, the 501(c)(3) affiliate of the National Democratic Redistricting Committee, is supporting the Harper respondents in this case.
“The blast radius from their theory will sow elections chaos, forcing a confusing two-track system with one set of rules for federal elections, and another for state ones,” Katyal said during oral arguments. “Case after case would wind up in this Court with a political party on either side of the dais that will put this Court in a difficult position instead of leaving it to the 50 states.”
The case itself is centered on a little-known and already debunked legal theory, but people’s basic rights to vote without barriers are at risk with the Court’s consideration of the case.
“This reckless case out of North Carolina could explode the unifying understanding that power ultimately rests with the people of this country,” said Kathay Feng, National Redistricting Director for Common Cause. “We cherish our right to vote in free and fair elections. But that sacred right could be undermined if the Court disregards the essential role checks and balances serve in our federal elections.”
Wednesday’s arguments lasted three and a half hours, a lengthy period of time in which the Supreme Court Justices examined the flimsy legal underpinnings of the dangerous “independent state legislature theory” that would erode people’s voting rights.
“It was conclusively confirmed that what North Carolina lawmakers want here is to toss out any meaningful protections provided by state constitutions,” said Allison Riggs, legal counsel in the case and voting rights chief counsel and co-executive director of Southern Coalition for Social Justice. “We appreciate the thoughtful questions in such a long argument and think the answer to the question presented to the Court is clear: Just as the Supreme Court promised three years, state courts and state constitutions have to provide some meaningful relief from the pernicious scourge of partisan gerrymandering.”
Common Cause and SCSJ also co-hosted the “No Lawless Lawmakers” rally Wednesday in front of the Supreme Court featuring representatives from the two organizations and the League of Women Voters, Advance NC, the N.C. League of Conservation Voters and the National Redistricting Foundation, as well as members of North Carolina’s Congressional delegation and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar. Video of the rally can be viewed here.
More about this case can be learned at www.mooreharper.org.
Both Kathay Feng of Common Cause and Allison Riggs of SCSJ are available for further comment following today’s U.S. Supreme Court oral arguments. Media can email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to arrange interviews.