April 20th, 2010
05:04 PM ET
4 years ago

Arizona lawmakers still pushing 'birther' measure

President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.
President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on Arizona's ballot in 2012.

Washington (CNN) - If Arizona lawmakers have their way, President Obama might have to prove he's a U.S. citizen to get on the state's ballot in 2012.

On Monday, Arizona's House of Representatives voted 31-22 to advance legislation that would require presidential candidates to provide documents, including birth certificates, proving their citizenship.

The measure, an amendment to a state Senate bill, must now clear another vote in the House before going back to the Senate. If it clears both chambers, the bill could soon go to Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, who is a Republican. Brewer's office declined to comment on whether the governor supports the proposal.

Critics deride the measure as a "birther bill." That name derives from a fringe movement, dubbed "the birthers," that questions whether President Obama was born in the United States despite proof that he was born in Hawaii in 1961. CNN and other news organizations have thoroughly debunked the rumors about the president's birthplace.

According to the Arizona legislation, parties seeking to put candidates on a state ballot would have to provide "documents that prove that the candidate is a natural born citizen, prove the candidate's age and prove that the candidate meets the residency requirements for president of The United States."

If the Arizona secretary of state "has reasonable cause to believe that the candidate does not meet the citizenship, age and residency requirements prescribed by law, the Secretary of State shall not place that candidate's name on the ballot," the bill states.

The amendment's sponsor, Republican Rep. Judy M. Burges, said through a spokesman that the bill is "an attempt to bring back transparency and confidence in the electoral process."

Rep. Kyrsten Sinema, assistant Democratic leader in the House, called Burges' amendment "crazy" but said it is likely to pass.

"This is just a political statement about our president, which is offensive," Sinema said. "They think that [President] Obama was born in Kenya, even though we have proof that he was born August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii," Sinema said.

But Sinema predicted the measure would not pass constitutional muster. States have rarely if ever waded into this area. Arizona has "become the laughingstock of the nation," Sinema said.


Filed under: Arizona • President Obama
soundoff (151 Responses)
  1. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Not a surprise the most racist state in the nation is using their facist agenda to spread activism and hatred.

    April 20, 2010 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
  2. Sissy

    I decided when Arizona said they are trying to pass a bill that a person can carry a concealed gun that I would no longer go to Arizona for any of our vactations.......this just continues to add to my discission not to visit that State....and probably behind this latest move is McCain and Palin.......boy what sore losers you republicans are.......

    April 20, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  3. Indy

    If Federal Law isn't good enough for Arizona, then maybe no Federal Funds should go there either. Let's let the state pick up the tabs for themselves.

    April 20, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  4. bennie new york

    Whatever- it's not like Obama was going to win Arizona in 2012 anyway. Any state that even tries to knock him off the ballot over a silly sore-loser conspiracy theory is a state Obama can't win.

    April 20, 2010 05:11 pm at 5:11 pm |
  5. Karl Larson

    the inmates have taken over the asylum

    April 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  6. Molly Weasley

    "Laughingstock" is putting it mildly. Between this and the "show me your papers" immigration law.

    April 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  7. ThinkAgain

    John McCain was born in the Panama Canal Zone, Panama, in 1936, in the US Navy Hospital in Coco Solo on the Atlantic side (I lived for three years on the Pacific side, in Ancon, near Gorgas Hospital).

    Is he a "natural born" citizen?

    I think he should be made to produce his original birth certificate so we can check.

    April 20, 2010 05:12 pm at 5:12 pm |
  8. keeth in California

    Obviously people are getting too much sun in AZ.

    April 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  9. Marge

    I think it is time someone filed a lawsuit for sedition against these bunch of crapolosa. If I had the money I would each and every one. TREASON and the rest of their life in jail.

    April 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  10. giniajim

    I think the birthers have already said that they don't accept a birth certificate from Hawaii, so Obama couldn't get on the ballot no matter what. What ever became of MG Childers in the birther movement?

    April 20, 2010 05:14 pm at 5:14 pm |
  11. Conservative Democrat

    More Republican Stupidity. I guess they can't read the. Title 8 Section 1401 of the U.S. code clearly states: Any one born outside the United States, if one parent is an alien and as long as the other parent is a citizen of the U.S. who lived in the U.S. for at least five years (with military and diplomatic service included in this time), is an American citizen. Since his mother fits part 2 of the sentence, he is an American citizen no matter where he was born.

    April 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  12. ThinkAgain

    What else do you expect from the one state (Arizona) that didn't approve the national holiday honoring Martin Luther King, Jr. until 1992, following a tourist boycott?

    Ronald Reagan signed MLK Day into law in 1983 and it was first observed in 1986.

    The only conclusion I can draw is that Arizona is full of racist idiots.

    April 20, 2010 05:15 pm at 5:15 pm |
  13. Bryan

    Well it's about time.

    If he will not show his ENTIRE birth certificate to prove he is a U.S. Citizen, it is for a reason.
    And the only reason would be because he is not a U.S. Citizen.

    He then would instantly be removed from office and face charges of FRAUD.

    I have no problem showing mine, do you???

    Show it and be done with it, of course if your not a U.S. citizen then refuse to show it.

    It is quite simple.

    Again this reeks of FRAUD just like Goldman Sachs, Bank Bailout and refusing to prosecute Bush.

    April 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  14. Scottyrw

    It looks like Arizona is piping water in from Texas and it is burning brain cells the same way it effected the Texas population! I feel sorry for Arizona that the politicians have taken over and are dictating to the citizens what they must do .... same in Texas! The "good old boy" take control and start dictating what people are to do, think, read and eat. They shove religion do their thoats and the laws only apply to everyone else ... except them

    April 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  15. Independent Supports President Obama

    It will not pass Constitutional Muster. Any first year Law Student can tell those birthers it will not. One would think Arizona would have better things to do than waste taxpayers time on a bill that is a joke. Arizona work on your budget because the economy is hurting all of us
    To the people of Arizona, please demand more from those you elect.

    April 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  16. Tom

    How absolutely absurd. Now, pass legislation forcing John McCain to prove he never said he was a Maverick.

    April 20, 2010 05:16 pm at 5:16 pm |
  17. ThinkAgain

    I've had birthers tell me that President Obama hasn't produced the "long version" of his birth certificate.

    What the heck is that? All of my kids' birth certificate are the same length and not that long; mine is pretty short and completely valid; I've seen my parents, and they're pretty short certificates, too.

    These birthers need to find another way to keep their heads from exploding over the fact that a BLACK MAN IS PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES!

    April 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  18. MARKPAIN

    I won`t be surprised if it does pass after this state passed a law giving police officers the right to stop anyone for questooning and possibly detainment simply for the way they look. Don`t leave your wallet at home or lose it because you may go to jail

    April 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  19. Duck Fallas

    I'm all for this. They should add an amendment that stipulates that a candidate must have an IQ higher than that of a bran muffin. That'll keep Palin off the ballot.

    What am I saying! Palin MUST be the repub candidate in 2012!

    April 20, 2010 05:17 pm at 5:17 pm |
  20. Bob of Lompoc

    From the State of McCain – no surprise to me. Question: Why didn't they do this when McCain was running for President? Some unusual facts might surface? What a bunch of Arizona knuckleheads!

    April 20, 2010 05:18 pm at 5:18 pm |
  21. Laurie

    Does John McCain have to produce his birth certificate? He was born in Panama.

    April 20, 2010 05:19 pm at 5:19 pm |
  22. John

    This is why I became a centrist Democrat, the Republican far right has temporarily ruined the party. You can't beat him, so you try to disproove him. BS!! Here is an idea, put up a candidate that could actually beat him rather than the next guy in line.

    I don't favor one side or the other any more, I favor who ever makes the most sense at the time. There's nothing wrong with voicing concerns or opinions about the way things are, but at least back it up with sensible alternatives to solving the issues. Fighting whether or not the President of the United States is a U.S. citizen is not the best way to get back on track. By the way, pretty sure he would never have made it this far if he weren't a citizen...

    April 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  23. Kimberly from Houston, Texas

    What would you expect from a state that did not recognize Martin Luther King Day for more than 10 years.

    April 20, 2010 05:20 pm at 5:20 pm |
  24. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    What is it with Arizona lately? I propose they rename their state West Carolina. Have a nice day!

    April 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
  25. Joe

    "Laughing stock of the nation." That about sums it up. First John McCain's dismal and even bizarre performance as a presidential candidate, and now this. Is there something in the water in Arizona that we don't know about?

    April 20, 2010 05:21 pm at 5:21 pm |
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