Supreme Court Strikes Down Arizona Voter Law

The United States Supreme Court by a vote of 7-2 has ruled that the Arizona law requiring voters provide proof of citizenship is unconstitutional.

The case at hand was Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc.

The majority ruling was written by Justice Scalia, and was largely based on the concept of Federal Supremacy. Justices Alito and Thomas dissented from the majority ruling.The Arizona law which was passed by voters in 2004 required that voters produce proof of citizenship in order to register under the federal “motor voter” law. That law passed in 1993 required states to allow voters to register when they applied for or renewed a drivers license.

Writing for the majority Justice Scalia stated that federal law “precludes Arizona from requiring a federal form applicant to submit information beyond that required by the form itself”

The ruling essentially upheld an earlier ruling by the 9th US circuit Court of Appeals.

Writing in dissent Justice Thomas stated that “authorizes states to determine the qualifications of voters in federal elections, which necessarily includes the related power to determine whether those qualifications are satisfied”

This case is part of the ongoing debate over what requirements should exist for voter registration.

Opponents of the law see these kinds of requirements as an attack on certain groups of voters they see as vulnerable (minorities immigrants and the elderly for example).

Supporters of the law or similar laws see them as a way to prevent voter fraud in particular preventing noncitizens from being able to register to vote.

Although I agree with the ruling because of the issue of federal supremacy I do share those concerns about potential voter fraud. I know many particularly on the left argue that there are few examples of such fraud I would think any cases of voter fraud would be troubling.

Indeed there are many examples of everyday circumstances where you need to provide proof of identification I don’t see why voting should be any different

However in this case the fact that there was a federal law in place would make it difficult for the court to rule any other way.


Posted on June 17, 2013, in Constitution, Patrick. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

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