Voter Suppression

Supreme Court Won’t Revive Kobach’s Citizenship Law

SK Ashby
Written by SK Ashby

It's been a long time coming, but the voter suppression law supported by former Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach is finally dead and buried.

The law originally passed in 2011 required voters in Kansas to prove they're American citizens by presenting a birth certificate when they register to vote, but a lower federal appeals court rule it was unconstitutional early this year.

The Supreme Court has now refused to hear the case, allowing the lower court ruling to stand.

The U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a stringent Kansas voter registration law that a lower court ruled unconstitutional, likely dooming similar provisions in Alabama, Arizona, and Georgia.

The state requirement that voters show “documentary proof of citizenship"—like a birth certificate or passport—violates the National Voter Registration Act as well as the Equal Protection Clause, the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit said.

While all states require that voters be U.S. citizens, the Kansas documentary requirement—known as the DPOC requirement—disproportionately disenfranchised voters instead of clearing up the voter rolls, the court found.

Disenfranchising voters was the whole point. It has always been the point. Proponents of these laws know just as well as we do that voter fraud is virtually non-existent, but their efforts to suppress votes are very real and very intentional.

The bottom line is they want to make it more difficult for the working poor and minorities to vote.

In their original opinion, the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that Kobach's law "unconstitutionally burdens the right to vote because the interests asserted are insufficient to justify the burden it imposes on that right." In other words, they used a bazooka to kill a fly, but 31,000 other people were killed (prevented from voting) in the process.

Kris Kobach is 0 for 2 at the Supreme Court. While he did not participate in the legal defense of this law, his "papers please" anti-immigration law -- which would have essentially required brown-skinned people to keep proof of citizenship or "papers" on them at all times -- was also struck down in Arizona years ago.