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Urgent need: Effective, responsive state & local representation
Where must the biggest public policy challenges be tackled given recent SCOTUS rulings?

  • Context
  • 3 min read

The most recent decisions of the Supreme Court have accelerated a trend of curtailing domestic federal authorities and national-level rights (outside of those related to religion and guns) and shifting or granting new authority to states & localities.  

These cases follow on previous rulings of the Roberts Court:

  • In Rucho v. Common Cause (2019), the Court found that partisan gerrymandering is “nonjudiciable”, i.e. federal courts can’t rule on this topic, leaving this issue of redistricting solely to state governments.
  • In Shelby v. Holder (2013), the Court eliminated key provisions of the Voting Rights Act, giving states & localities with a history of discrimination the freedom to change their voting laws and practices without federal preclearance.

This is the new normal

Given the ideological makeup of the Court, it is expected to accelerate this trend of decisions (and certainly not reverse it).  Supreme Court reforms like those discussed by the Presidential Commission (e.g. this proposal for regularized appointments) show no signs of moving – and even if implemented would take substantial time to impact the law and federal/state/local policymaking dynamics.

No matter one’s perspective on how each of these cases should have been decided, the result is the same: our state & local representatives have been empowered to act where the federal government now can’t or won’t.  The complex issues impacted by these decisions require representatives who understand and will effectively respond to the needs and interests of their full communities: developing, coordinating, and implementing policy, while building and maintaining political support for themselves and their actions.

Make an impact: Strengthen State & Local Representation

There are many ways you can strengthen state & local representation! Directly engage by running for office, joining a campaign, or building the capacity of local issue advocates.  You can start with training from Empowered To Run. And help scale our impact, so we can bring our training to more people, in more places, on more subjects: donate today!