WASHINGTON, DC, June 27, 2023 - In response to the Supreme Court's decision in Moore v. Harper, Rabbi Jonah Dov Pesner, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement on behalf of the Union for Reform Judaism, Central Conference of American Rabbis, and wider Reform Movement:
"We celebrate the Supreme Court's decision in Moore v. Harper rejecting the misguided independent state legislature theory that would have allowed state legislatures to gerrymander electoral maps and enact discriminatory voting laws without oversight. By explicitly affirming the role of state judicial review in election regulation, the Court has sent a clear message that the voters' constitutional rights matter and that checks and balances are vital to our functioning democracy. This decision underscores the crucial role state courts play in limiting voter suppression and upholding free and fair elections. Combined with the Supreme Court's recent decision in Allen v. Milligan upholding Section 2 of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, this decision is a major win for voting rights. We were pleased to join an amicus brief in this case.
The Reform Jewish Movement has long supported voting rights, recognizing that democracy is strongest when the electorate reflects the population - and that democracy suffers when voters are suppressed. We are proud that portions of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 were drafted in the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism's conference room in Washington D.C. In 2020 and 2022, our nonpartisan Every Voice, Every Vote civic engagement campaigns reached nearly 1.5 million voters. This commitment to voting rights is guided by our Jewish text and tradition, including the words of the sage Hillel who wrote, 'Do not separate yourself from the community' (Pirkei Avot 2:4) and Rabbi Yitzchak taught that 'a ruler is not to be appointed unless the community is first consulted' (Babylonian Talmud, B'rachot 55a). It is our collective responsibility to ensure that all Americans can access the ballot box, which necessitates maintaining oversight over redistricting and voting laws.
Even as we celebrate this decision, we know that much work remains to strengthen voter protections across the United States. We will continue to urge Congress to reintroduce and pass critical voting rights legislation, including the John R. Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act and the Freedom to Vote Act, to ensure the promise of democracy becomes true for all."
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union for Reform Judaism, whose 850 congregations across North America encompass 1.8 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis, whose membership includes more than 2,000 Reform rabbis. Visit RAC.org for more. The Religious Action Center's work on democracy and voting rights is made possible in part by the Leo and Libby Nevas Foundation.