OPINION: Let’s Run Against the #SCOTUSsix and Win

"We found that talking about the Supreme Court stakes in this election and the Court’s impact on issues Americans care about can move voters to vote for Biden and help win this election," said Stand Up America Executive Director Christina Harvey.
Demonstrators hold signs with the faces of SCOTUS justices at an abortion rights rally at Foley Square in New York City. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

The Supreme Court’s MAGA majority continues to live rent-free in my head. This week marked two years since the Dobbs decision – and a flurry of rulings from SCOTUS. We also got a warning from Justice Sotomayor in one of her dissents, marriage equality could be next on the chopping block. In yet another dissent related to the Idaho abortion decision, Justice Brown-Jackson wrote: “Storm clouds loom ahead.”

It’s hard not to be demoralized by everything to do with SCOTUS, especially as Clarence Thomas boldly enriches himself while taking away our rights and Justice Alito feels comfortable expressing his support of Christian nationalism in a semi-public forum. (And let’s not even go into Ginni and Martha!) We have six unelected public servants tearing apart the fabric of our American society in their rulings, and sometimes it feels like there’s no way to stop them.

But I’m sick of feeling demoralized. We know the way to get a better court: a Democratic president and Senate majority who will nominate and confirm liberal justices. And should we get that majority we can also pressure Congress and the White House to hold sitting justices accountable. Even a code of ethics that Justices actually had to follow would be a real improvement.

In January, I wrote a newsletter encouraging Democrats, particularly outside groups, to run against the six right-wing Justices, a call I’ve renewed a couple of times since. This week my prayers were answered when Stand Up America launched a 7-figure digital campaign to educate and mobilize voters on the impact the next president will have on the future of the U.S. Supreme Court. I was excited to see this effort and knew my readers would be interested as well. So I sent the press team a few questions and Stand Up America’s executive director, Christina Harvey, was kind enough to answer. 

CARDCan you offer any insights from the polling or focus groups on what messaging around SCOTUS resonates with voters?

Harvey: We found that talking about the Supreme Court stakes in this election and the Court’s impact on issues Americans care about can move voters to vote for Biden and help win this election. The top-performing message was:

“In 2025, when the next president takes office, four of the nine Supreme Court justices will be in their 70s and could retire or die. That means Donald Trump could ensure MAGA control of the Court for decades to come, which could have a huge impact on upcoming cases concerning abortion, marriage equality, gun safety, and the climate crisis. We need to vote this year to prevent Donald Trump from picking more MAGA justices who will threaten our fundamental freedoms for decades to come.”

READ: Trump Loyalists Preview Strategies to Upend 2024 Election

Voters also responded to backward-looking messaging focused on abortion, specifically on Trump killing Roe v. Wade, highlighting that about one in three women now live in states where they cannot access care.

We asked voters what issue most convinced them to vote for Biden as it relates to the Supreme Court and presented them with messaging about the impact of the Supreme Court on five different issues. Across all demographic groups, the largest number said abortion, followed by gun safety and voting rights. Black voters ranked gun safety almost on par with abortion when it comes to their concern about the Supreme Court, and AAPI voters were even more likely to rank abortion first than the average registered voter.

CARD: What role do content creators, influencers, and celebrities play in your strategy?

Harvey: Working with content creators, influencers, and celebrities will help amplify our message around the stakes of this election, energize the progressive base, and turn out voters in key battleground states. These trusted messengers will help reach millions of potential Supreme Court voters who may not be energized currently by the top of the ticket.

As part of the campaign launch, we partnered with celebrities, influencers, and major public figures like Andy Cohen, Hillary Clinton, Raven Schwam-Curtis, George Lee, Jr., Asha Rangappa, and Dr. Jenifer Lincoln to talk to their followers about the stakes of this election for the Supreme Court and encourage them to visit our new site, CourtVoter.com, to pledge to be a Supreme Court voter. 

READ: Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey Reminds Voters ‘Birth Control Is on the Ballot’

CARD: What advice do you have for engaged citizens who want to help explain how SCOTUS figures into the election to their friends and/or amplify helpful messages?

Harvey: Visit courtvoter.com and take the pledge to be a Supreme Court voter. Then use our tools to spread the word on social media and ask your followers to become Supreme Court voters too. 

I believe abortion will continue to galvanize voters and turn them out at the polls. You can’t talk about abortion without talking about the court that took our rights away, the behavior of its worst Justices, and how winning a Democratic majority come November can start to turn things around. (Not to mention how a second Trump term could make the Supreme Court even worse.) I’m pleased that Stand Up America stepped up to the plate and put actual resources into making the case to voters.

You can sign up and learn more at courtvoter.com.

This is an excerpt from Ctrl Alt-Right Deletea newsletter produced in partnership with COURIER — a civic media company. It was republished with the author’s permission. Subscribe HERE.

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Melissa Ryan

Melissa Ryan Ctrl is the author of Alt-Right Delete, a newsletter devoted to covering the rise of far-right extremism, white nationalism disinformation, and online toxicity, delivered on a weekly basis to more than 16,000 subscribers. Her writing has appeared in publications such as The Progressive, Buzzfeed News, Refinery29, NowThis, and Media Matters.

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