The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit will hear arguments this afternoon surrounding Arizona’s 2004 voter-approved requirement that residents show proof of citizenship when they register to vote.
A three-judge panel of the Appeals Court ruled in October that the National Voter Registration Act pre-empts Arizona’s Proposition 200. Arizona appealed the ruling, and the court agreed to rehear the case “en banc” before an 11-judge panel of the court. The hearing is in Pasadena, Calif.
Among its provisions, the National Voter Registration Act creates a standard federal registration form that all states must accept. It requires applicants to sign a statement that they are citizens, but it does not require them to show any proof. Prop. 200 requires applicants, regardless of whether they are submitting a federal voter-registration form or a state one, to provide a driver’s license, passport, birth certificate, tribal identification or naturalization certification number.
In its October decision, the Appeals Court ruled that Arizona’s requirement conflicts with the federal act, which requires states to make registration opportunities “widely available” and removes obstacles to voter registration.
At today’s hearing, state Attorney General Tom Horne will get 30 minutes to argue for Prop. 200. The opposition’s 30 minutes will be divided among the federal government, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund and the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.
Horne said he’ll explain to the justices why Arizona has the right to require additional proof of legal status.
… Joe Sparks’ law firm will represent the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona during the hearing; his attorneys will have seven minutes to speak.
“What we say will be largely dependent upon what is said in the oral argument by the appellants and the lawyers arguing before us,” Sparks said. “We have to be very flexible about what we’re prepared to say.”
Sparks said the justices need to understand how Prop. 200 impacts Native Americans in Arizona, calling it “pointedly discriminatory.”
Full Article: Arizona voter-registration law to be weighed by panel.