Stiefel Freethought Foundation pledges matching donations to support ‘Map our Future’ campaign from Common Cause NC
RALEIGH – This fall, the U.S. Supreme Court will take up Moore v. Harper, a blockbuster case from North Carolina centered on an attempted power grab by politicians in the state legislature.
At issue is a fringe legal ploy, the so-called “Independent State Legislature Theory,” which has never been accepted by American courts. Politicians pushing this radical idea want the state legislature to have unchecked power over North Carolina’s federal elections, which could unleash extreme gerrymandering and voter suppression.
The case is being closely watched, not only here in North Carolina but also nationally. It has the potential to upend free elections and undercut voting rights across the country.
In preparation of Moore v. Harper going before the nation’s highest court, Common Cause NC is leading a statewide “Map Our Future” campaign in communities throughout the state, raising awareness of the rights at stake and helping North Carolinians engage in effective ways to protect their freedom to vote.
To support the crucial work of defending democracy, the Stiefel Freethought Foundation has pledged to match dollar for dollar every donation of $5,000 or less to Common Cause NC between now and October 31, up to $100,000 total. Donations made as part of the matching pledge are tax-deductible.
“The North Carolina General Assembly is pushing a dangerous, fringe legal idea that would allow them to violate our state constitution as they take full power over elections with no check from state courts,” said Todd Stiefel, president of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation. “If they win, they will continue to illegally racially gerrymander. We’re proud to support the crucial work of Common Cause NC to help North Carolinians push back against this dangerous power grab in Moore v. Harper.”
Donations to Common Cause NC will help the organization reach people throughout North Carolina with dozens of community events, as well as a robust digital campaign, to educate the public about the issues in Moore v. Harper, lift up voices of everyday North Carolinians and mobilize grassroots support to defend voting rights.
The funds will also support the capacity of Common Cause’s legal preparation for upcoming arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court, including amici recruitment and making the case in the court of public opinion and in the media.
“If extremist politicians get their way in Moore v. Harper, it could unleash extreme gerrymanders and voter suppression on the people of North Carolina. In turn, it would make it harder to turn public demands into public policy that reflects the needs and values of our communities. The stakes couldn’t be higher. We must act now to defend our democracy,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of Common Cause North Carolina. “We’re profoundly grateful to the Stiefel Freethought Foundation for their generous support of our work at this critical moment as we mobilize people across North Carolina. We must stand together against the radical power grab by politicians in the legislature and protect everyone’s freedom to vote.”
About the case of Moore v. Harper:
In 2021, the North Carolina state legislature drew new congressional and legislative voting districts that were extreme partisan gerrymanders. Common Cause NC joined a group of plaintiffs in challenging those gerrymanders in state court.
Earlier this year, the North Carolina Supreme Court ruled in favor of Common Cause NC and the other plaintiffs, finding that the legislature’s gerrymanders violated North Carolina’s Constitution.
As a result of that ruling, the legislature redrew the districts once again. However, the legislature’s redrawn congressional map continued to be an illegal gerrymander. Since the legislature repeatedly proved itself unwilling to draw districts without gerrymandering, the court tasked a panel of neutral experts – called “special masters” – to draw congressional districts that met constitutional standards.
The new congressional map drawn by the special masters was adopted by the state court to be used only for the 2022 election.
Instead of respecting the NC Supreme Court’s ruling, politicians in the North Carolina legislature – led by Republican House Speaker Tim Moore – filed an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court, grasping at a fringe concept never before accepted by American courts. Moore and his group want the legislature to have unchecked power over federal elections in North Carolina, which would include sole authority over creating the state’s congressional districts, even if those districts are gerrymandered to the extreme.
If Moore and his group prevail, the people of North Carolina could essentially be barred from seeking protection in state court when politicians in the legislature violate their freedom to vote in federal elections.
The U.S. Supreme Court has announced it will hear the case of Moore v. Harper during its upcoming term that begins in October but has not yet set a date for oral arguments.
Common Cause NC is a nonpartisan, grassroots organization dedicated to upholding the core values of American democracy.