Civil and Human Rights

Victory: CAC Hails Supreme Court Decision Protecting Voting Rights In Arizona Inter Tribal Council Case

Washington, DC – On news this morning that the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in the case of Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, holding by a vote of 7-2 in an opinion written by Justice Antonin Scalia that Arizona’s proof of citizenship requirement is preempted by the National Voter Registration Act under the Elections Clause of the U.S. Constitution, Constitutional Accountability Center – which had urged this result – had the following reaction:


CAC Chief Counsel Elizabeth Wydra said, “Today’s decision is a victory for the federal government’s authority to regulate federal elections and protect the right to vote.”


CAC Civil Rights Director David Gans said, “The Court affirmed Congress’ decision to use a single federal form to help streamline the voter registration process, and prevent states like Arizona from denying the right of citizens to register to vote in federal elections.  At a time when states are engaged in voter suppression efforts, today’s opinion is an important reaffirmation that the text and history of the Elections Clause give the federal government broad power to preempt state law in order to protect the right to vote in federal elections.”


CAC President Doug Kendall added, “As CAC’s brief urged, the Court held that the only purpose of the Elections Clause is to displace state laws, and therefore Congress should be presumed to have displaced states when it acts. The Court got the Constitution’s text and history right in its ruling today.”






“CAC Reacts to Supreme Court Arguments In Arizona Voting Rights Case,” News Release, March 18, 2013:


CAC’s brief in Arizona Inter Tribal Council, filed with the Brennan Center and distinguished law professors, including Jack Rakove:  


“The Scalia Court and Voting Rights, Part 2,” Huffington Post, March 11, 2013:


“The Voting Rights Case You Haven’t Heard Of,” Balkinization, March 11, 2013:




Constitutional Accountability Center ( is a think tank, public interest law firm, and action center dedicated to fulfilling the progressive promise of the Constitution’s text and history.



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