PHOENIX - A federal judge has given the OK for
Gov. Janet Napolitano to officially proclaim
approval of parts of Proposition 200.
Judge David Bury, in an order released
Wednesday, said Napolitano is free to declare
that voters approved sections of the initiative
that require proof of citizenship to register to
vote and mandate that voters seeking to cast a
ballot must first present identification.
That does not let the new voting procedures take
effect. But it does permit the state to submit
the change to the U.S. Justice Department, which
must first review the measure to ensure it does
not illegally impair the voting rights of
Seeking that approval now will expedite
enactment of the new voting procedures if Bury
rejects the legal challenges to the initiative
But Bury left intact part of his original Nov.
30 order that bars the state from enforcing the
section of Proposition 200 that says government
employees must get proof that applicants for
public benefits are in the United States legally
and must report illegal entrants to federal
officials. That order also precludes proclaiming
voter approval of that section of the
Based on that, Napolitano late Wednesday signed
a modified proclamation. The actual signing was
done by an "auto pen" machine after the
governor, who is in Washington, D.C., gave her
verbal approval; she will formally sign it when
she returns on Monday.
The move comes as a Colorado-based public
interest law firm filed legal papers Wednesday
to intervene on behalf of the Yes on 200
committee and Randy Pullen, its chairman, in the
federal court lawsuit challenging the legality
of the initiative. That lawsuit, filed by
attorneys for the Mexican American Legal Defense
and Education Fund, contends both the voting and
public-benefits provisions are illegal.
William Perry Pendley, president of Mountain
States Legal Foundation, said he believes that
Napolitano and Attorney General Terry Goddard
won't vigorously defend the legality of the
voter-approved law when the case goes back
before Bury on Dec. 22.
Pendley noted that both personally opposed the
He also faulted the attorney general for issuing
a formal legal opinion last month declaring that
the provisions of Proposition 200 requiring
proof of legal residency for "public benefits"
apply to only a narrow range of services.
Pendley said that's contrary to Pullen's views
and the voters' views.
Both Napolitano and Goddard have insisted they
will defend the legality of the initiative in
court despite their personal feelings.
Pendley's motion, filed in federal court in
Tucson, also seeks intervention in the lawsuit
on behalf of the Federation for American
Immigration Reform. He said the national group
has an interest in the lawsuit because it spent
more than $150,000 backing the measure.