As if Arizona’s anti-illegal immigration bill wasn’t enough to cement Arizona’s reputation as the last refuge for tin-foil hat enthusiasts: yesterday, the Arizona State House passed a bill designed purely to add fodder to the fire burning within the chests of Obama-hating birther conspiracy theorists. The bill (H 2441) which passed narrowly on Monday by a margin of 31-29 would require that any presidential candidate hoping to put their name on the Arizona ballot would be required to submit a copy of their birth certificate to the Arizona Secretary of State; if the Secretary of State suspects that the documents are false, they will be legally obligated omit candidate’s name from the ballot.
The U.S. Constitution requires that any candidate for the presidency be at least 35 years of age and a natural-born citizen of the United States. So, there’s nothing wrong with this bill, right?
Wrong! The problem with Arizona’s so-called “Birther Bill” is that it asserts that the Arizona Secretary of State is better at certifying presidential candidates than the Federal Elections Commission, the current entity that is responsible for checking that each would-be candidate meets Constitutional requirements. Having interacted with Arizona’s Secretary of State office personally while helping to run a local race, I call bullshit on that notion.
In addition, the jury remains out as to whether H 2441 is even Constitutional — can a state apply additional candidacy requirements to someone seeking federal office? Could requiring presidents to individually present proof of citizenship itself constitute an added candiacy requirement?
Fundamentally, the impetus for this bill are the members of the “Birther” movement, who have been largely marginalized by both the Right and Left of the mainstream. Birthers contend that President Obama was born outside of the country, and faked his Hawaiian birth certificate, thus making Obama an illegitimate president. Of course, anyone who doesn’t have an IQ in the single digits dismisses such a ridiculous notion — that is, unless, you’re Judy Burges, the Arizona Republican who sponsored H 2441.
If Arizona is going for a reputation of being the only state in the Union where Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck are taken seriously, and can even dictate state law, than our state’s legislators are well on their way towards that lofty goal with this frivilous waste of Arizona’s taxpayer money.