The Conversation

'Voting Rights Gladiator' Battles KS Sec of State Kris Kobach in Court

A Justice Department lawyer who describes himself as a "Voting Rights Gladiator" on Twitter, was in a Kansas court Tuesday, trying to stop Kansas and Arizona from verifying the citizenship of people registering to vote. 

Via J Christian Adams at PJ Media:

Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, relying on a United States Supreme Court opinion of last year, asked the federal Election Assistance Commission to permit him to ensure that only citizens were registering to vote.

The Election Assistance Commission said no, so Kris Kobach went to federal court. Enter Eric Holder’s Justice Department, as usual, opposing election integrity measures.

Despite harping about resource concerns (which apparently means that the DOJ can do nothing about corrupted voter rolls), Holder found the time and money to send Bradley Heard to a hearing in Kansas to argue against Kobach’s election integrity measures.

According to this account in the Witchita Eagle, things did not go well for the Voting Rights Gladiator. 

Judge Eric Melgren repeatedly pressed Department of Justice lawyer Bradley Heard to explain how a Supreme Court decision last year on Arizona’s proof-of-citizenship law allows the federal Election Assistance Commission to reject requests from Arizona and Kansas to add state-law requirements to the instructions for filling out the voting form.

“The single pivotal question in this case is who gets to decide … what’s necessary” to establish citizenship for voting, Melgren said.

Heard said that decision lies with the EAC under the federal National Voter Registration Act, also known as the motor-voter law. He said the law empowers the commission to decide what questions and proofs are necessary to include in the federal registration form.

While the law doesn't explicitly state the EAC can overrule states on proof of citizenship, Heard said the legislative history shows that requiring document proof was considered and rejected by Congress.

"I've read the legislative history, and I'm not very impressed by it," Melgren responded.

It remains to be seen whether or not the DOJ's argument will get a thumbs up or down from the court, but the Judge apparently had a lot of "tough questions" for the Voting Rights Gladiator.


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