The U.S. Supreme Court’s nine justices lobbed a volley of tough questions at Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne on Monday as he argued for the state’s voter-registration law aimed at keeping illegal immigrants off the voter rolls. At stake is Proposition 200, a law passed overwhelmingly by voters in 2004, that asks Arizonans who want to vote to provide documentary proof of citizenship, such as a copy of a driver’s license, birth certificate, passport, tribal identification card or naturalization number. The law goes beyond what federal voter-registration rules require for proof. The law inflamed the immigration debate when it was passed and was almost immediately challenged by voting-rights advocates as burdensome to the young, elderly, minorities or naturalized citizens and to voter-registration organizations. Supporters touted the law as a check against voter fraud.
The pointed questioning, particularly from the more conservative Justice Antonin Scalia and more liberal Justice Sonya Sotomayor, could indicate the justices will deliver a divided opinion, as they have in many challenges of Arizona laws that have gone before the high court recently.
During the hour-long oral argument, the justices frequently interrupted and changed the direction of debate within seconds.
The Supreme Court’s decision is expected by the summer.