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Coronado v. Napolitano

The Center filed an amicus brief with the Ninth Circuit of the US Court of Appeals in support of the plaintiff’s challenge to Arizona’s statutory provision denying voting rights to individuals with felony convictions. Voting rights are withheld until those individuals have paid any court-ordered fees, fines, or restitution.

Published: February 6, 2009

In Coron­ado v. Napol­it­ano, the plaintiffs, repres­en­ted by the ACLU, chal­lenged the Arizona stat­utory provi­sion deny­ing voting rights to indi­vidu­als with felony convic­tions until those indi­vidu­als paid any court-ordered fees, fines, or resti­tu­tion. Plaintiffs also contested the exten­sion of disen­fran­chising crimes to those crimes that were not felon­ies at common law.  Specific­ally, plaintiffs alleged viol­a­tions of the 14th and 24th Amend­ments to the U.S. Consti­tu­tion, and vari­ous provi­sions of the Arizona Consti­tu­tion. After the United States District Court of Arizona ruled in defend­ants’ favor, the plaintiffs subsequently appealed this decision to the federal Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

The Bren­nan Center filed an amicus brief on Febru­ary 4, 2009 before the Ninth Circuit. The Bren­nan Center argued that the chal­lenged law func­tioned as an imper­miss­ible poll tax in viol­a­tion of the 24th Amend­ment, rely­ing on the Amend­ment’s legis­lat­ive history, contem­por­an­eous case law inter­pret­ing the Amend­ment, and modern case law and policy argu­ments.

On May 27, 2010 the Ninth Circuit affirmed the District Court decision, hold­ing, among other things, that the stat­ute did not viol­ate the 24th Amend­ment’s bar against poll taxes. The Ninth Circuit consol­id­ated Coron­ado with Harvey v. Brewer, 605 F.3d 1067 (2010).


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