Russell Pearce's Latest Loss: 9th Circuit Swats Down Racist Provision of Prop. 200

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The "architect" of Arizona's ethnic cleansing laws, stymied by the 9th Circuit

To borrow a phrase from that great modern philosopher Flavor Flav, when it comes to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeal's recent ruling on Prop 200, don't believe the hype.

Because hype, fake outrage and panic is basically what we're getting from right-wingers and Republican politicos about the court's striking down the part of Prop 200 that makes proving one's citizenship a prerequisite for voter registration.

"The decision is an outrage," Governor Jan Brewer and Secretary of State Ken Bennett announced in a joint statement, "and a slap in the face to all Arizonans who care about the integrity of their elections."

The statement continues, "Arizona voters have made their will crystal clear -- non-citizens do not have the right to vote."

Which is a classic straw man argument, because non-citizens didn't have the right to vote in federal elections before Prop 200, any more than they do after this ruling. As the decision itself points out, the National Voter Registration Act, which supersedes Prop 200, requires registrants to sign and attest under penalty of perjury that they are citizens.

The NVRA details federal penalties for voter fraud and voter registration fraud, making such activities punishable by up to five years in prison. Moreover, voting by an illegal alien is expressly forbidden by 18 USC 611, and punishable by up to a year in prison.

You see, Prop 200 had nothing to do with preventing non-citizens from voting. In fact, in the year or so before it was passed, it was widely reported that instances of voter fraud involving non-citizens were practically non-existent.

At the time, Maricopa County elections director Karen Osborne told the Arizona Republic that, "If we have one case a year, it's an amazement."

Even Steven Camorata, director of research for the nativist Center for Immigration Studies, admitted to the Republic that very few illegal immigrants actually attempt to vote for the obvious reason: They don't want to tip off authorities to the fact that they are here and undocumented.

Prop 200 also required proof of citizenship when applying for non-federally mandated programs. But the impact of that provision was minimal. Illegal immigrants were already prohibited from receiving most public assistance by the 1996 welfare reform signed into law by President Bill Clinton. 

Indeed, the nativist Federation for American Immigration Reform itself notes the following on its Web site:

"llegal immigrants are barred from the following federal public benefits: grants, contracts, loans, licenses, retirement, welfare, health, disability, public or assisted housing, post secondary education, food assistance, and unemployment benefits. States are barred from providing state or locally funded benefits to illegal immigrants unless a state law is enacted granting such authority."

Prop 200 was the product of fear, xenophobia and scapegoating. It received the support of nativist politicians such as Randy Pullen, currently state GOP chairman, and state Senator Russell Pearce (then in the House), who now calls himself the "architect" of the proposition.

Another supporter was self-described "ethnic separatist" Virginia Abernethy, chair of PAN's national advisory board. Her participation was so controversial that even FAIR asked her to step down.

Interestingly, a bi-partisan coalition of Republicans and Democrats opposed Prop 200, including U.S. Senators Jon Kyl and John McCain, then Congressman J.D. Hayworth, Governor Janet Napolitano, former Republican state Attorney General Grant Woods, and Mayor Phil Gordon.

One of the intended effects of Prop 200 was voter suppression, keeping the poor --  many of them Latinos -- from registering. In that sense, it was successful. It's estimated by Prop 200 opponents that 30,000 Arizonans were denied registration due to the law. Keeping Latinos from the polls was all part of the plan.

This was recognized by the 9th Circuit in its 2-to-1 decision, which included in the majority none other than former U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor, who was sitting in as a member of the panel.

"The thrust of the NVRA," the 9th Circuit observed, "is to increase federal voter registration by streamlining the registration process. In this vein, the NVRA requires states to make registration opportunities widely available at the motor vehicle bureau."

The 9th Circuit found that, "Proposition 200 is not in harmony with the intent behind the NVRA, which is to reduce state-imposed obstacles to federal registration. It is indisputable that by requiring documentary proof of citizenship, Proposition 200 creates an additional state hurdle to registration."

You can read the decision, here.

Only the part of Prop 200 pertaining to showing "documentary proof of citizenship" was struck down. Folks are still required to show ID at the polls. The suggestion by some right-wing blogs that the court has opened the gate to massive voter fraud is complete hooey.

Right-wingers don't want eligible Latinos to register to vote. That's because they've spent so much of their time of late alienating Latinos by spewing nativist rhetoric. They want this state to continue to be dominated by a white, reactionary elite. 

Racist laws such Prop 200 and SB 1070 help them maintain their political hegemony by keeping the brown folk at bay. For the moment, that is. For the moment.


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25 comments
Russell Pearce 1: LIBS: 0!
Russell Pearce 1: LIBS: 0!

Russell Pearce is in office. SB1070 is in effect. Jan Brewer won in a landslide.

Russell Pearce's Latest Loss? Sorry. It's a victory and Russell Pearce will continue to push forward with swatting Obama and all of you liberal losers. We win! Ha, ha!

Lars
Lars

I have trouble with you referring to Brewer, Bennett and Pearce as being members of a governing "white, reactionary elite." They may be white and reactionary, but I hardly think of them as being "elite."

USAdefender1
USAdefender1

I attest under penalty of perjury that you open border liberals are MORONS!

I know so many Hispanics and NONE of them who are eligible to vote encounter any racism. I guess what Dodo Bird is saying is that only liberal Hispanics are too STUPID to show proof of citizenship!

Well said Dodo Bird. I agree with you 100%. But I'll take it a step further..... I suggest that liberals of all colors are MORONS and not just the BROWN ones you single out!

USAdefender1

Tired of worthless people
Tired of worthless people

Pearce says he is a fifth generation Arizonian. He is my age 55-65 and my grandkids are 5th generation Arizonians. Our family hass been tracked to Southern AZ btw 1875 and 1906. So can Pearce be a fifth gen Az and NOT have Mexican blood in him? How can that be?

Barni Qaasim
Barni Qaasim

10% of African Americans do not have the proper ID to prove they are citizens. Prop 200 also targeted the Native American community where many elders are too far away from facilities to get proper ID. We've seen these arbitrary hoops that only some segments of the population need to jump through, its called Jim Crow. Prop 200 targeted poor people of all backgrounds because the right doesn't want us to vote. Let's vote these fear-mongers out of office!

Go on get outta here
Go on get outta here

Arizona should be allowed to secede from the union.Those with more than half a brain will move, and all the other idiots can enjoy their isolation. Pay to oppress the citizens with all the laws they wish to enforce, and enjoy the benefits of a floundering economy.Arizona would be a nice third-world blight on the map.

Loosecannonsbluesband
Loosecannonsbluesband

Let's not confuse bigotry with racism. Racism is a specific term that should be used by people who believe that one "race" is superior to another and deserves better treatment and enhanced opportunities than the "inferior" race. This is the type of behavior that Nazi believers go for. There is a lot of this type of behavior in the U.S., and it's fairly easy to recognize - in fact, it's usually blatant.

Bigotry is much more insidious and may not actually manifest itself clearly as racism. SB1070 and Prop 200 is another, among the many, State law which increases government instrusion into U.S. Citizen's lives are clear examples of how this Bigotry is being encouraged by politicians who cynically manipulate people's fears in order to gain political or economic advantage they would not normally have absent a legislator's involvement on their behalf.

We, as citizens, have a responsibility to our pledge to uphold our constitution NOT to fall victim to these ploys to divide us one from another. Corporations are not people and our founding fathers warned us against the influence of "monied corporations."

In this respect England exhibits the most remarkable phenomenon in the universe in the contrast between the profligacy of it's government and the probity of it's citizens. And accordingly it is now exhibiting an example of the truth of the maxim that virtue & interest are inseparable. It ends, as might have been expected, in the ruin of it's people, but this ruin will fall heaviest, as it ought to fall on that hereditary aristocracy which has for generations been preparing the catastrophe. I hope we shall take warning from the example and crush in it's birth the aristocracy of our monied corporations which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country.

Thomas Jefferson said that in a letter he wrote to George Logan in 1816.

Let's remember that people - stop the fear and hate and you'll stop being confused about whose interests our representatives really represent by observing their actions. Don't be misled by those in our society who wish to lead you astray by plucking those heartstrings which vibrate to bigotry, strings we all have to some degree (hint: it's the genetic "fight or flight" response), and control the urge to harm your fellow countrymen.

Norma
Norma

When you apply for a voter's registration card, all pertinent documentation is required, and that's why you receive one. What Russell Pearce is attempting is to remove and intimidate Latinos. He forgets that we are AMERICAN CITIZENS and the United States of America is OUR COUNTRY. Do these Arizona politicians like Pearce, Brewer or Arpaio really believe that we have no brain and have no education to not see through their bigotry? UNBELIEVABLE.

Victory
Victory

Lemons, how is proving you're a citizen to when registering to vote considered racist? That doesn't make sense at all. Are you saying you are ok with illegals registering to vote and claiming they are legal just so politicians can get more votes? Because that what it sounds like. You have become so blinded by your hate for anything conservative or Republican that you are starting to think that breaking the law is justifiable. Look how ridiculous you are starting to sound. You applaud those that break the law but ridicule those that want to uphold.

Dave in Golden Valley
Dave in Golden Valley

Next Pearce will have State legislation for a poll tax or literacy test, which the Tea Party people could not pass. Brewer will dutifully sign it. The fact that these are already Unconstitutional is not relevant to these neo-Klaners. Surpressing the vote is their top priority and has been since Rehnquist was in Arizona.

Author
Author

So, writing a law patterned after (but less stringent than) federal law is "ethnic cleansing." Very creative. Since you like "the architect" so much, you will love a real architect, and author of the newly released "Uncommmon Sense...Apparently! A Call to Arms." Available for complimentary download (for now) at www.UncommonSenseNow.com. The book is well reasoned, but you will find it both radical (by your "standards") and "insensitive." It is not "The #1 National Best Seller" yet, but soon could be! Enjoy...while you can still get it for free! Try to control your anger, however....

JonDough
JonDough

I personally know 10 people that are non-citizens that have registered to vote and then voted with no problem. To say it is 'rare' is BS.

Albq2004
Albq2004

We have legal provisions for entering the country illegally and illegal entry is done anyway from countries worldwide, so why not add identify theft and documentation fraud into the mix. Then against legal provision these documents can be used to ID them at the polls. Wow - court's ruling is really a deterrent. On top of that add the Federal government not enforcing the current legal provisions increases the offenses. What happened in Yuma this week should give you a clue as to how impotent your argument is. This is not a loss for Pearce, it is a loss for the integrity of the US government and the illegal immigrants themselves.

ChadSnow
ChadSnow

Another Pearce solution in search of a problem. How many millions did this one cost our state, Russell?

Truth08
Truth08

Nice to see Pearce 'smacked up' by the courts over and over!!

Regards,Truth

P/S Another smacking, scheduled in the 9th Circuit next week, over the bigoted 1070 Pearce is behind!!

david saint
david saint

lol, so the moron that got away with DUI, and then passed the toughest DUI legislation in the country (at the time), and has no college degree, its saying that Justice O'Connor doesnt have the best interest of Arizonans at heart??? Id say its the other way around, considering the rumors that Jan purged over 100k people from the voting rolls while she was Sec of state....

Brother Mike
Brother Mike

Dude you are alive. That's Great News!!!

I had heard that you had been shot in the head by a Brotherhood member when you bit to hard when you were on your knees the last time you went to get your meth and did not have the full $20.

Glad to see I heard wrong.

chicagonut
chicagonut

How in the world is this intimidating citizen Latinos?

chicagonut
chicagonut

I agree with you, Victory. How is it racist? Your entire post is very truthful and calls out the anarchists in this country for what they are. I question the loyalty of any American who would feel showing proof of citizenship in this country to vote is inapproprate or racist.

curious
curious

If you know of 10 people that are not citizens of that have registered to vote and have voted, then you need to report them. That is a more effective way to stop voter fraud than any provision in Prop 200. Or are you afraid to get involved?

Shar Pei
Shar Pei

No college degree? I've seen no evidence that Brewer graduated from high school. Don't you think some principal would proudly claim her?

Dave
Dave

How does it NOT intimidate citizen Latinos?

You doubt but offer no references to support your opinion.

Dave
Dave

I question YOUR loyalty as an American when you question another American loyalty. I question your loyalty as an American when you THINK that a state law is more important or effective then Federal law.

You sound just like a nationalist fascist if I ever heard one. You are sowing the seeds of sedition and the roots of an unlawful civil unrest.

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