Following the impending hearing of House Speaker Tim Moore’s Moore v. Harper case by the United States Supreme Court, two separate op-eds were released today – with news outlets and North Carolina policy experts calling the case, and the independent legislature doctrine that it hinges on, a “danger to democracy” and a “death knell of democracy.” Should the Republican-dominated Supreme Court side with Moore in this case, then all state legislatures will have sole discretion over election laws and voter districting maps – removing the checks that the state courts currently have against gerrymandering and unconstitutional voter laws.
Read more about the constitutional dangers of NC Republicans’ case in Moore v. Harper:
- On April 12, 1776 – a date emblazoned on North Carolina’s state flag – 83 delegates from the province of North Carolina unanimously passed the Halifax Resolves, a set of resolutions supporting a break from Great Britain that is regarded as a forerunner to the Declaration of Independence.
- Now, two and a half centuries later, the state is at the forefront of a national unraveling of what the Revolutionary War achieved – self-determination through democracy.
- “We are kind of the poster child for bad democracy,” said Bob Phillips, executive director of North Carolina Common Cause, which successfully sued to block partisan gerrymandered maps.
- “One could argue they have democracy in Russia because they have an election, but the outcome is already predetermined,” said state Sen. Dan Blue, a Wake County Democrat and Senate minority leader. With extreme gerrymandering, Blue said, North Carolina is also trending toward sham democracy. It may look like democracy, he said, but given the almost certain results in many districts, “It’s some kind of autocracy.”
- “If five Supreme Court justices endorsed some version of that doctrine, then I really think that’s a sort of death knell of democracy,” Asher Hildebrand, a Duke University professor and former chief of staff to longtime Rep. David Price, said. “And I don’t think that’s too strong a word.”
- “You could certainly at that point see legislators being allowed to restrict voting in any way they see fit without courts getting to weigh in on whether those infringe on people’s constitutional rights,” Noah Bookbinder, president of Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, said. “I think this is incredibly dangerous to the continued viability of democracy.”
- “What’s at stake is really our American notion of what it means to have a responsive and participatory democracy,” Kathay Feng, national redistricting director for Common Cause, said. “The question is, how important is that to us? Because this one theory would threaten to dismantle those fundamental principles.”