The Justice Department is taking the state of Arizona to court over yet another law that tries to codify voter suppression.
In March, Arizona’s Republican-controlled legislature passed a law requiring voters to prove their U.S. citizenship before being allowed to vote in presidential and other elections in the state. On Tuesday, the Justice Department filed a federal lawsuit arguing that the law violates the National Voter Registration Act of 1993.
In fact, the Supreme Court in 2013 ruled against Arizona when it attempted to put a similar citizenship proof rule in place for voting, specifically because it violated federal law.
Republicans know this, but they won’t let a little thing like federally protected voting rights stand in the way of a potentially viable political strategy, especially not one that fits like a puzzle piece with debunked conspiracy theories about the 2020 election. In this case, Arizona’s Republican Governor Doug Ducey has promoted the idea that President Joe Biden’s margin of victory in his state in 2020 was accounted for by mystery noncitizen voters.
The suit describes how the attorney for Arizona legislators warned them that the bill would violate federal law and contradict the earlier Supreme Court ruling. House Speaker Pro Tempore Travis Grantham said trying again “is a fight worth having,” according to the court filing.
State Attorney General Mark Brnovich suggested the Justice Department was encouraging undocumented immigrants to vote by filing the lawsuit. “I will once again be in court defending Arizona against the lawlessness of the Biden administration,” Brnovich said Tuesday.
Respectfully, it’s the other way.
Although its previous attempt was struck down, Arizona’s new law appears aimed at provoking another battle in the courts with an eye toward a possible showdown in front of an emboldened conservative majority that has already shown it’s not shy about revisiting past decisions.