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Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. (Amicus Brief)

On June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that Proposition 200, an Arizona law requiring applicants to present documentary proof of citizenship as a condition for voter registration, is preempted by Congress's power to regulate federal elections.

Published: June 17, 2013

On June 17, 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Arizona v. The Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, Inc. that Proposition 200, an Arizona law requiring applicants to present documentary proof of citizenship as a condition for voter registration, is preempted by Congress's power to regulate federal elections.

In October 2010, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals held that Arizona’s documentary proof of citizenship requirement for voter registration violates the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA). In April 2012, the en banc Court agreed with the earlier panel decision that the Arizona proof of citizenship requirement was preempted by the NVRA. Arizona requested that the Supreme Court review the Ninth Circuit’s decision, and in October 2012, the Supreme Court granted certiorari.

The Brennan Center, along with the Constitutional Accountability Center, filed an amicus brief on behalf of constitutional law professors explaining that in enacting the NVRA, Congress acted for the very reasons at the core of the text and history of the Elections Clause, using its express power to protect the right to vote and ensure a uniform method of voter registration across all fifty states. The amicus brief argues that Congress chose to “alter” state-law requirements such as Arizona’s and urges the Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 200. 

The Supreme Court decision upholds the Ninth Circuit ruling, rejecting Arizona's effort to impose additional registration requirements that conflict with the NVRA's requirement that states "accept and use" the standard federal voter registration form.

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