Arizona Leaders’ Request to Delay Depositions in Voting Law Dispute Denied by Supreme Court

Supreme Court Ruling

On Monday, November 27, 2023, the Supreme Court denied a request from the leaders of the Arizona legislature to delay depositions in a voting law dispute. The depositions are part of a lawsuit challenging two state laws that make it more difficult to register to vote.

The leaders of the legislature, Speaker Ben Toma and President Warren Petersen, had asked the Supreme Court to put the depositions on hold while they filed a petition for a writ of mandamus. A writ of mandamus is an order directing a lower court to take or refrain from taking a specific action.

The Supreme Court’s denial of the stay means that Toma and Petersen will be required to be deposed. The depositions are scheduled to begin on December 4, 2023.

Background

The lawsuit challenging the Arizona voting laws was filed by the League of Women Voters and the Navajo Nation. The plaintiffs allege that the laws make it more difficult for minority voters to register and vote.

The district court judge overseeing the case ruled in favor of the plaintiffs and ordered Toma and Petersen to be deposed. Toma and Petersen appealed the ruling to the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, but the 9th Circuit upheld the district court’s decision.

Toma and Petersen then asked the Supreme Court to intervene. They argued that they should not be required to be deposed because they have legislative immunity. Legislative immunity is a legal doctrine that protects legislators from being sued for their official actions.

The Supreme Court’s denial of the stay means that Toma and Petersen will have to answer questions about their motivations for enacting the voting laws. The depositions could provide valuable evidence in the lawsuit.

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Next Steps

The depositions are scheduled to begin on December 4, 2023. It is unclear how long the depositions will take. Once the depositions are complete, the district court will hold a trial to decide the case on the merits.

The outcome of the case could have a significant impact on voting rights in Arizona. If the plaintiffs are successful, the laws could be struck down. This would make it easier for Arizonans to register to vote and vote.

The case is being closely watched by voting rights advocates and election officials across the country.

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