A Victory for Our Democracy

“The Elections Clause does not vest exclusive and independent authority in state legislatures to set the rules regarding federal elections.”
— Supreme Court Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.

With these words, the Supreme Court has ruled against rightwing extremists in Moore v. Harper — rejecting for now the radical argument that state legislative majorities have unchecked control over federal elections.

We can breathe a temporary sigh of relief. But make no mistake, rightwing threats to our democracy through state legislatures will persist. This year, rightwing state lawmakers have advanced a near-record number of anti-voter policies. In fact, lawmakers in 45 states have introduced more than 300 policies that make it harder for voters to cast their ballot or for their vote to be counted.

Today, by not upholding the idea that state legislatures have the autonomy to decide whether we have free and fair elections, the court upheld some of the checks and balances on which our democracy stands. But we cannot forget that almost exactly one year ago, that same court stripped Americans of a constitutional right that had been protected for nearly half a century — the freedom to access a safe, legal abortion — by handing state lawmakers the power to make personal, private healthcare decisions for the people they serve.

Rightwing state legislative majorities will continue to test the limits of their power on issue after issue. Which is why we cannot let today’s decision distract us from our goal. We must remain laser focused on building power for those who will defend our freedoms where they’re being attacked: in state legislatures.