U.S. Supreme Court

Arizona lawmakers who opposed depositions on tougher voting laws fail to win Supreme Court stay

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The U.S. Supreme Court has denied an emergency request for a stay by the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives and the president of the Arizona Senate. Image from Shutterstock.

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday refused to block a federal judge’s decision to allow depositions of two Republican legislative leaders in Arizona who intervened to defend laws passed last year that require would-be voters to provide proof of citizenship.

The Supreme Court denied the emergency request for a stay by Ben Toma, the speaker of the Arizona House of Representatives, and Warren Petersen, the president of the Arizona Senate, report the New York Times and SCOTUSblog.

The laws ban those who don’t provide proof of citizenship from voting in most elections, including the U.S. presidential election, and from voting by mail in any election, according to a brief filed by two Democratic groups that challenged the law. The challengers claimed that the laws violate federal statutes and the U.S. Constitution.

Toma and Petersen denied that the legislature acted with a discriminatory intent.

Toma and Petersen had argued that they didn’t have to testify about intent and their involvement in the legislative process because of legislative privilege. Senior U.S. District Judge Susan R. Bolton of the District of Arizona had ruled that the privilege didn’t apply because the legislators had intervened in the underlying case to defend the law.

Among the groups challenging the law were the U.S. Department of Justice, the Arizona Democratic Party and the Democratic National Committee.

The case is Toma v. U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona.

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