It will likely never reach the level of awareness that surrounded Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization or the controversial ruling on New York gun laws, but small business owners in North Carolina say the U.S. Supreme Court hearing on Moore v. Harper is an important one that should not fly under the radar.

The case, that presented oral arguments earlier this month, will decide whether the North Carolina Legislature has the power to draw its district maps unconstrained by its own state constitution and allow the North Carolina Supreme Court to fundamentally reshape the system of representative government and checks and balances created by our founders. Those deeply concerned by this possibility say allowing the majority political party in the state legislature to create highly gerrymandered districts and regulate federal elections free of any checks by other state-level actors would remove the accountability of elected officials to their constituents, including small business owners.

“Moore v Harper could make power-hungry politicians accountable only to their big money campaign donors,” says Jim Duffett, Director of Small Business for America’s Future North Carolina. “In practice, this means lawmakers in districts drawn to guarantee their re-election would pay no penalty for failing to address small business needs. Main Street’s large corporate competitors with deep pockets would command all the attention from politicians to the detriment of small business. We must ensure American democracy means all have equal voices.”

In a recent survey of the Small Business for America’s Future network, 89 percent of small business owners said a well-functioning democracy is very important to a strong small business economy, and 78 percent are very concerned with the current state of our democracy.
John Martin, CEO and Chief Strategy Officer of Martin Sloane International LLC is one of those troubled by the potential infringement this case presents. The Charlotte, North Carolina small business owner warns that regardless of whether you're a business owner or citizen of North Carolina, if this is enacted, it could have a domino effect on essentially every citizen of the country.

A member of the Small Business for America's Future Network, Martin has been vocal about his uneasiness, telling EBONY, “The founders of this country were concerned about any branch of government having too much power so they placed checks and balances into the Constitution to avoid too much power in any branch. If this is enacted, and dependent upon the interpretation of the courts, the checks and balances could go out of the window.” He says the probability is “completely scary.”

Consternation over the potential fallout is what led the ACLU, the ACLU of North Carolina, and their legal partners to file an amicus brief with the Supreme Court. The nonprofit contends that the Moore case hinges on a legal proposition known as the “independent state legislature theory” which could make it possible for the state legislatures to have exclusive power—the kind that could lead to political vulnerability.

“Political stability allows economies, communities and businesses like mine to thrive,” says Kenneth Fields, founder of IT-HenHouse in Charlotte, N.C. “The system of checks and balances in our government has provided the bedrock of political stability that makes it possible for businesses like mine to grow and prosper all across North Carolina and America.”

Those speaking out against the legislation say that the ruling could be particularly detrimental for underserved communities and disadvantaged businesses. The decision to appoint government contracts aside, Martin says that the uncertainty it poses could thwart small businesses who thrive on being able to look ahead with some level of consistency. The “willy-nilly” nature of the law could also lead to a tug-of-war whereas one party could pass legislation that is pro-business, and the next party passes something to negate those laws. ”Most of us don't want our laws made based upon theory,” Martin asserts. “We want them to be practical. We want them to be thoughtful. We want them to address the needs of the community, whether that's at the state level or federal level.”

Beyond the issues that could arise for business owners, many are fearful that Moore v. Harper could give the legislature the ability to cancel elections or even rig elections by limiting voting times, or changing the process to benefit their party.

“We have to create organizations that not only identify problems but also educate our people on the consequences of those problems or those issues,” Martin says in relation to the quiet nature of the case. “The vast segment of our community has no idea of what public private strategies are. We have to get down to the grass roots level. We have to educate our pastures. We have to educate our community leaders. We have to educate our business owners. We have to get down and start providing the education, creating citizens who are thoughtful and insightful and can see these kind of cases for what they are.”