Arizona Legislators Must Testify About Voting Laws, Supreme Court Rules

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The Supreme Court ruled Monday that two Arizona lawmakers must testify in support of state laws requiring proof of citizenship to vote in federal elections.

The court’s brief order did not give any reasons, which is common when judges work on emergency applications. No objections were noted.

The Justice Department, the Democratic National Committee, civil rights groups and others have challenged the state laws, saying they violate federal laws and have discriminatory intent.

Arizona Attorney General Chris Mays, a Democrat, declined to defend aspects of the legislation, while Arizona House Speaker Ben Thomas and Arizona Senate President Warren Peterson, both Republicans, stepped in to defend it.

Legislators are protected by legislative immunity from being questioned about their reasons for supporting or voting for legislation. In September Judge Susan R. BoltonA federal district court in Arizona has ruled that a different analysis applies when legislators voluntarily submit themselves to litigation.

“The Speaker and the President have each stepped in to ‘fully defend’ the election laws and set their sights on the crisis, abandoning their differences. Judge Bolton wroteHe added that the two lawmakers may be forced to testify about their actions.

The United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit initially blocked Judge Bolton’s decision, but later allowed the men’s case to proceed. The lawmakers also asked the Supreme Court to intervene.

“Unless the court grants an immediate stay,” he told the jury. Emergency application“Legislative leaders quickly find themselves between the mythical Scylla and Charybdis: They must either provide evidence to the contrary or refuse to do so and expose themselves to possible sanctions and contempt charges.” Either choice will have serious consequences that cannot be corrected.

ResponseLawyers for the Democratic National Committee wrote that the lawmakers are trying to have it both ways, arguing that the laws are not intended to be discriminatory and that they are unwilling to be questioned on the issue. That, they wrote, is “totally alien to the fundamental principles of our adversarial justice system and to basic fairness.”



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