Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona - Oral Argument - March 18, 2013

Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Media for Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Audio Transcription for Opinion Announcement - June 17, 2013 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

Audio Transcription for Oral Argument - March 18, 2013 in Arizona v. Inter Tribal Council of Arizona

John G. Roberts, Jr.:

We'll hear argument first this morning in Case 12-71, Arizona v. the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona.

General Horne.

Thomas C. Horne:

Thank you, Mr. Chief Justice, and may it please the Court:

The NVRA should not be construed to preempt Arizona's Proposition 200 for three reasons.

First, prohibiting a State from effectively enforcing the citizenship requirement is so far-reaching that if Congress had intended that, it would have put the prohibition in the statute expressly, which it did not do.

Congressional silence should not disable States from taking sensible precautions to exclude noncitizens from voting.

Second, when Congress wanted to expressly prohibit something, it knew how to do it.

It expressly prohibited notarization and other forms of authentication.

This Court has frequently held that statutory language that indicates -- that prohibits one thing indicates there's no other implicit prohibition: The expressio unius rule.

Third, Proposition 200 is consistent with the purposes and objectives of the NVRA, because the purpose of the NVRA--

Sonia Sotomayor:

If I see the purpose of the NVRA to simplify registration--

Thomas C. Horne:

--Yes, Your Honor.

Sonia Sotomayor:

--how is Arizona's provisions consistent with that objective and purpose--

Thomas C. Horne:

Your Honor--

Sonia Sotomayor:

--given that some of the amici explain that many people don't have the documents that Arizona requires?

Thomas C. Horne:

--Yes, Your Honor.

First of all, the -- simplifying the procedure is one of two important purposes of the NVRA.

The other is the integrity of the system--

Sonia Sotomayor:

Well, but why does one take precedence over another?

Thomas C. Horne:

--I would say, Your Honor, that neither takes precedence over the other.

They're both equally important.

And so--

Sonia Sotomayor:

So if something you do conflicts with one of those purposes, why isn't it preempted by the Federal law?

Thomas C. Horne:

--Your Honor, I think the question is, if you take the two purposes together, does -- does the Proposition 200 strongly fulfill one and have a minimal burden on the other?

And, Your Honor, I would rely on the findings of the -- of the district court in this case.

In fact, this Court instructed the Ninth Circuit to defer to the factual findings of the district court in the Purcell case, which was this case in an earlier stage.

Sonia Sotomayor:

Why would you think that Congress, in doing the short form registration, didn't consider the issue of fraud, and decide that it had arrived at the balance it wanted?

Thomas C. Horne:

Because, Your Honor, the -- the Congress did not specify what the States could or could not do.

Ruth Bader Ginsburg:

But it did -- but Congress did specify how citizenship was to be handled.

And it was to be an attestation, a signed attestation subject to -- to the penalty of perjury.