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Arizona Bill to Vet Candidates

Arizona

Arizona

A bill before the Arizona legislature would establish a procedure for vetting a presidential candidates before they could  appear on the ballot.

In contrast to all these citizen lawsuits, someone is finally doing something sensible. If the people of Arizona through their legislature want to establish procedures to make sure only eligible candidates appear on the ballot, that is their right.

I have some concerns about the constitutionality of the bill as it stands now. It requires documentary proof that the “candidate is a natural born citizen.”  It’s vague in that it doesn’t say what the standard of proof is. And if it said what the standard is, it would be defining “natural born citizen” which is not a state prerogative.

Nevertheless, it’s an interesting approach, and I would cheer a constitutionally sound bill to vet a candidate. Maybe if Arizona passes the bill, and someone candidate challenges it, the Supreme Court might actually define natural born citizen. Stranger things have happened.

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8 Responses to Arizona Bill to Vet Candidates

  1. avatar
    Expelliarmus February 11, 2009 at 9:32 pm #

    Given that it comes from Arizona, they should be careful what they wish for. What documentation could John McCain have submitted to suffice under the language of the bill?

  2. avatar
    A. Kibitzer February 11, 2009 at 10:35 pm #

    A state court decision on a federal constitutional issue would go straight to the US Supreme Court like crap through a goose.

  3. avatar
    Ian Gould February 12, 2009 at 12:20 am #

    US state’s have considerable lee-way in determining the procedures for election of Federal officers – see for example, the various ballot access laws.

    Most of the current birther lawsuits are against state Attorney Generals because they’re the ones who are responsible for certifying candidates under current laws.

  4. avatar
    GeorgetownJD February 12, 2009 at 12:55 am #

    I’m embarassed for my state. The legislature has been hijacked by right-wing nutjobs. Fortunately, we have a very able Court of Appeals and Supreme Court, as well as a Democratic AG, so any proof of citizenship statute would be held in constitutional check.

    The states certainly are entitled to require a candidate to provide proof of birth in the jurisdiction of the United States or birth abroad to a US citizen. They may not, however, define what constitutes a “natural born citizen” within the meaning of the federal Constitution. The Arizona courts would defer to the USSC on that, and if no opinion of a federal court provides a clear definition by the time such a statute would be tested, I feel confident the Arizona courts would make no attempt to create a definition.

    In short, this proposal feeds the red meat constituents, but lacks any real substance.

  5. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 12, 2009 at 7:46 am #

    It would seem to me that the only way the Supreme Court is going to rule on the natural born citizen issue would be for some candidate to be refused a ballot position or one legitimate candidate sue another to be removed. If Lightfoot v. Bowen had been filed in time without the tin foil hat birth stuff but rather some cutting and pasting from the dissenting opinion in US v. Wong, perhaps it would have been heard.

  6. avatar
    mimi February 23, 2009 at 3:24 am #

    “S. Hrg. 108-694 — Maximizing Voter Choice: Opening the Presidency to Naturalized Americans, October 5, 2004 – TEXT 115K | PDF 3.3M”

    It’s long, and I didn’t read it. I did scan some of it. It seems to me that they all agreed that “natural born” includes anyone born on US Soil.

    Also, the terms “native born” and “natural born” were used to describe same thing.

    http://www.obamaconspiracy.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/maxvotchoice.pdf

  7. avatar
    Expelliarmus February 23, 2009 at 5:14 am #

    Here’s the shortcut link that will take you to the right page: http://tinyurl.com/dlk55s

  8. avatar
    Dr. Conspiracy February 23, 2009 at 10:24 pm #

    Thanks. I added to the Bookmarks page.