Friday, April 23, 2010

Arizona Legislature is heating up

Arizona is becoming the hotbed of legislative actions. Recently the State Legislature of Arizona passed a bill to crack down on illegal immigration, currently the bill awaits the Governor's signature, and now the House passed, narrowly, legislation that would require that all Presidential candidates provide proof of citizenship prior to being added to the state ballot. Rep. Tom Chabin (D-Flagstaff) pleaded, "When you undermine the sitting president of the United States, you undermine our nation, and it makes us look very ugly" Sen. Jack Harper (R-Surprise) countered that, "It's our ballot. The parties need to prove that their nominee is eligible to hold the office of president to be on our ballot."

Granted the legislation comes from the controversy that surrounded the eligibility of Barack Obama to be President of the United States. Regardless of which side of the "birther" movement one is on, for a state to require proof of citizenship makes sense. Every state has their own guidelines for how people are placed on the ballot. The major parties typically are added to all state ballots but other "third" party candidates to not get on the ballot.

Another argument being made in Arizona against the legislation is that it will give the Secretary of State too much power. If the guidelines are clear as to what is required to prove citizenship I do not see or understand how it empowers the Secretary of State. The United States Constitution calls out clearly the requirements to hold office and the legislation being discussed in Arizona does nothing to usurp the Constitution. Actually I am a bit surprised that such guidelines are not already in place. Is Arizona overstepping their State powers by passing such legislation? Does the bill undermine President Obama?