Just a week before the Supreme Court will take a look at Arizona’s controversial anti-immigrant law, a federal court ruled that the state can’t require proof of US citizenship prior to voting.
The court upheld the portion of Arizona’s voter ID bill that requires voters show identification at the polls but held that the National Voting Rights Act supersedes the law’s requirement that anyone registering to vote in a federal election show “satisfactory evidence” of US citizenship.
The voting restrictions were passed in 2004 by ballot initiative. Proposition 200 amended state election laws to add the citizenship and identification requirements.
Writing for the majority of the 9th Circuit, Judge Sandra Ikuta concluded the photo ID portion of the vill was not “invidious” and therefore did not violate the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause. But, the rest of the law did come in conflict with federal law governing federal elections.
“In sum, the NVRA and Proposition 200′s registration provision … do not operate harmoniously as a single procedural scheme for the registration of voters for federal elections,” Ikuta wrote. “Therefore, under Congress’s expansive Elections Clause power, we must hold that the registration provision … is preempted by the NVRA” when a voter seeks to register for a federal election”
The ruling has no bearing on the immigration case before the Supreme Court except that it offers an encapsulated look at the fundamental misunderstanding Republican lawmakers in Arizona have when it comes to the relationship between the federal and state government. Now let’s see if the Supreme Court agrees.
Photo from warrenski via flickr.