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Supreme Court stays Ninth Circuit's ruling on Arizona voting law

Justice Anthony Kennedy [official website] of the US Supreme Court [official website] on Thursday ordered [text, PDF] a temporary stay on a lower court's ruling invalidating Arizona's 2004 Proposition 200 [amendment, PDF], which requires voters to show proof of citizenship before registering to vote. The order effectively stayed the decision of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit [official website] until a response is received by Monday. Kennedy also demanded both parties file any reply briefs by next Wednesday. The order allows Arizona to enforce the controversial law until the Supreme Court issues a final ruling on the case. Arizona had filed [JURIST report] an Application to Stay Mandate [text, PDF] on Wednesday.

The Ninth Circuit, sitting en banc, upheld [JURIST report] a portion of Arizona's law which requires voters to show identification at the polls, while striking down the provision now before the Supreme Court that further requires proof of citizenship to register to vote in federal elections. It was similar to the decision of a three-judge panel for the Ninth Circuit that was delivered [JURIST report] in October 2010 which struck down the portion of an Arizona law requiring proof of citizenship for voter registration. In 2006 the Supreme Court ruled [JURIST report] that Arizona can enforce the law requiring voters to show government-issued ID cards at the polls. It concluded that the law would not necessarily result in the turning away of qualified, registered voters by election officials for lack of proper identification. The Supreme Court has upheld similar laws in other states. In April 2008 the court let stand [JURIST report] Indiana's controversial voter identification statute requiring voters to present photo identification as a prerequisite to voting. It held that such requirement did not place an undue burden on voters and thus, did not violate the US Constitution.

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