Daily Kos is thrilled to partner with none other than Julia Louis-Dreyfus to shine a spotlight on some of the most important but most overlooked elections of the year: the battle for state supreme courts.
You know Julia from her many award-winning performances on screen, but she’s also been a dedicated activist who’s devoted herself to helping Democrats win races at all levels of the ballot—the very same cause that’s of paramount importance to this community.
And with the U.S. Supreme Court’s demolition of Roe, those downballot races are more important than ever, since we’re going to have to look to other institutions to protect our rights. That’s where state supreme courts come in.
The high courts in each state hear, collectively, thousands of cases a year, on issues that include workers’ rights, environmental protection, police brutality, voting access, and, of course, abortion. When independent-minded justices committed to upholding the rule of law sit on those courts, we can expect fair decisions. When far-right ideologues are in charge, however, all bets are off.
That’s what we just saw in Kansas. That landslide victory for abortion rights came about because Republicans were trying to overturn a decision by the state Supreme Court, which had found that the state constitution guaranteed the right to an abortion. They failed, badly, but the entire episode shows just how critical it is to have the right jurists on the bench.
And we have the chance to make sure we do exactly that in three major states this November: Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio.
In Michigan and North Carolina, Democrats hold narrow 4-3 majorities in both cases. Maintaining those majorities is of vital importance, because if Republicans take over those courts, they’ll be eager to roll back landmark decisions. Two examples from just this year alone stand out: In February, North Carolina’s top court struck down GOP gerrymanders for violating the state constitution and implemented much fairer maps, while just three weeks ago, the Michigan Supreme Court found that existing state law prohibits companies from firing workers or discriminating against customers due to their sexual orientation.
In Ohio, it’s Republicans who have a 4-3 majority, but one relatively moderate Republican justice has repeatedly sided with Democrats to rule against GOP gerrymanders there. However, she’s retiring, so if we don’t pick up a seat and Republicans elect a typical ultra-conservative, those rulings will go out the window, too. What’s more, come 2024, Republicans will once again try to steal the election if it doesn’t go their way. State supreme courts will be crucial bulwarks against allowing that to happen.
Fortunately, we have excellent candidates in all three states that Julia and Daily Kos are proud to endorse:
One thing we can’t stress enough is that the budgets for state supreme court races are much, much smaller than for other statewide contests. A high-profile Senate candidate might spend $100 million; most campaigns for Supreme Court, by contrast, will have a total budget of around just $1 million.
For small-dollar grassroots donors, that means our donations offer incredible bang for the buck—especially when we act together. And there are lots of us: Not only are we collectively promoting this as the Daily Kos community, but Julia will be doing the same to all of her fans and supporters. (No doubt there’s a lot of overlap!) By joining forces, we can give all of these campaigns a massive boost and make sure they have the resources to combat the lies that Republican dark-money groups will inevitably sling at them.
So whether you can donate $10 or $100 to each of these fantastic candidates, please join Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Daily Kos to ensure Democrats win the Supreme Courts in Michigan, North Carolina, and Ohio!
P.S. Julia just took a turn as guest host on our podcast, The Downballot, interviewing David Nir and David Beard about state supreme court races! You can listen right here.
Update: Julia has shared a video about this slate!
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