I mentioned late last week the potential that Arizona-style “birther” bills could have on judicial elections outside the state. Today, I’ll be taking a look at their Arizona in-state potential.
In addition to the presidential-focused provisions, HB 2177 would amend the state’s existing candidate-registration law to include the following (new provision in bold):
All persons desiring to become a candidate shall file with the nomination paper provided for in [A.R.S 16-311(A)] an affidavit, which shall be printed in a form prescribed by the secretary of state. The affidavit shall include facts sufficient to show that, other than the residency requirement provided in [A.R.S 16-311(A)], the candidate will be qualified at the time of election to hold the office the person seeks. The affidavit shall include references to and attachment of all documents necessary to show that the person will be qualified at the time of the election to hold the office the person seeks.
Right now, the Secretary of State’s form simply takes a judicial candidate’s oath for their qualifications:
You are hereby notified that I, the undersigned, a qualified elector, am a candidate for the office of _________________________________________________________________at the General Election to be held on ___________________________________________.
I will have been a citizen of the United States for years next preceding my election and will have been a citizen of Arizona for years next preceding my election and will meet the age requirement for the office I seek and have resided in _______________ County for years and in precinct ______________ for ______________ years before my election.
I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that, at the time of filing, I am a resident of the county, district or precinct which I propose to represent, and as to all other qualifications, I will be qualified at the time of election to hold the office that I seek, having fulfilled the constitutional and statutory requirements for holding said office.
The “citizen of the United States” requirement could require the use of a birth certificate. Moreover, for Superior Court Judges, this means proving they are between the minimum age of 30 and the maximum of 70, potentially and possibly also through the use of a birth certificate. Similar age-based requirements would apply to Justices of the Peace (minimum 18, maximum 70) and, depending on the location, Municipal Court Judges.
Governor Jan Brewer has five days to sign HB 2177, veto it, or do nothing and allow it to become law.