Back in August, I blogged about the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals’ apparent skepticism about the case involving proof-of-citizenship requirements and the federal registration form in Kansas and Arizona. Two-and-a-half months later, the judges handed down a unanimous decision reversing a lower court and prohibiting the two states from imposing proof-of-citizenship on the federal form. … This decision reignites a series of conflicts:
1. The ruling doesn’t invalidate the imposition of proof-of-citizenship on state forms (the court specifically notes that it is not ruling on that issue) so, for the time being, two-track registration could be back on the table in Kansas and Arizona – perhaps with those states’ courts being asked to rule on its constitutionality;
2. The case will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, with the justices asked to resolve whether the federal government or the states have the final word on requirements for the federal form; and
3. The ongoing controversy about the EAC’s role will almost certainly complicate efforts to confirm four new Commissioners – a prospect that seemed for more promising when two GOP nominees were announced back in July. Predicting how the new Republican Senate majority will handle those nominations is difficult, but it’s hard to imagine how the prospect of a fully-functioning EAC is attractive to members of Congress with doubts about the wisdom or utility of the agency.
This issue is far from over – and its resolution is more unclear than ever. With the 2016 presidential race already coming into view, you can absolutely bet on this issues raising temperatures – and inflaming tempers! – in the months and weeks to come.