A group of Democratic-aligned organizations are teaming up on seven-figure campaign to elevate the importance of the Supreme Court in the 2024 election cycle.
The campaign — called United for Democracy — will kick off Monday with a $1 million ad buy in five states with pivotal Senate races next year, highlighting how a raft of recent Supreme Court decisions rolling back reproductive rights, union protections and gun and environmental regulations has impacted Americans.
Details of the campaign were provided first to NBC News ahead of United for Democracy's public launch on Monday.
Groups involved with the campaign include Planned Parenthood, NARAL, Giffords, the American Federation of Teachers, the National Education Association and the League of Conservation Voters. Several of the groups will each devote funds and personnel for the campaign.
The group’s first ads will air Monday in Pennsylvania, Arizona, Wisconsin, Nevada and Montana, as well as in Washington, D.C.
Democrats are defending Senate seats in all five of those states in 2024. Campaign organizers say their goal is to spotlight to voters that the Supreme Court has had a major impact on their lives — and that those voters wield political power that can be used to help mold the court’s future. Ads will also run in print and online newspapers in those states.
“Our campaign hopes to create a coordinated effort to call out the Supreme Court and educate people about the impact it is having on their lives, in hopes that we are able to pressure politicians to put it on their agenda and actually take action,” campaign director Stasha Rhodes said.
In one ad, slated to air in all five states and D.C., several voters speak direct-to-camera about their concerns about the political direction of the Supreme Court.
“I’m worried the Supreme Court has been captured by rightwing extremists,” a Catholic priest named Rick says in the one-minute spot.
A woman named Lori, a mother of a survivor of the 2007 mass shooting at Virginia Tech University, says, “the Supreme Court makes it harder to keep our families safe.”
“It’s time Congress acts, for my students’ futures,” says a teacher named Jermaine.
Text in the final seconds of the ad calls on viewers to “tell Congress to rein in the dangerous Supreme Court" — though organizers said the campaign isn't calling for specific judicial reforms.
“We believe that there are a lot of smart ideas for making the Supreme Court more accountable and transparent. The problem isn’t a lack of ideas. It’s that Congress hasn’t moved on any of them, whether it’s ethics or court expansion,” Rhodes said. “There is an existential feeling that nothing can be done about this particular body of government. And we want to make clear that that’s not true.”
Rhodes said the campaign’s strategy moving forward could include future ad buys that call for specific judicial reforms, such as laws governing recusal procedures for justices, a beefed up ethics code and more stringent financial disclosure requirements, and even expanding the number of justices who sit on the bench.
Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., an outspoken proponent for Supreme Court reforms, praised the new campaign in an interview as a tool that could help combat a “united effort to capture the court and turn it into a weapon of the far-right wing.”
Whitehouse, who has pushed in recent weeks for Congress to reform Supreme Court ethics rules, said attempts to connect the Supreme Court to people’s lives “can be very powerful.”
“There are plenty of ways to find touch points, with people and the issues that they care about," he said. "Then, all you’re really doing is connecting the dots."