Now here's a real beauty of a bill courtesy of our friends in the Arizona Legislature. Yes, you know where this is going. As reported by the Arizona Republic:
The Arizona Legislature has become the first in the nation to pass a measure requiring presidential candidates to provide proof of citizenship in order to get on the state's ballot.
House Bill 2177 got final approval Thursday night from the House. It will be transmitted to Gov. Jan Brewer, who will then have five days to sign it, veto it or do nothing and allow it to become law. [...]
HB 2177, sponsored by Rep. Carl Seel, R-Phoenix, would require presidential and vice presidential candidates to provide the Arizona secretary of state with documents proving they are natural-born citizens.
Those documents can be either a long-form birth certificate or two or more other permitted documents, including an early baptismal certificate, circumcision certificate, hospital birth record, postpartum medical record signed by the person who delivered the child or an early census record.
It's a stupid bill from a legal standpoint, because the Constitution already mandates that a president be a natural-born citizen. This is the legislative equivalent of, "Hey, you know that law? We like it."
(I wonder what that says about the constitutional laws they choose not to endorse.)
It's a stupid bill from a logistical standpoint, because when do candidates need to file with the secretary of state? Will everyone have to do it or just those "of interest"? Is there an appeal board if the secretary of state is a birther nutjob and decides to reject the document? Will grounds for rejection apply equally to all candidates? Will other states follow if Arizona decides to leave a candidate off the ballot?
It's even a stupid bill from a birther standpoint, because of the secondary documents the state would accept as proof. The entire movement is based on the notion that the only birth certificate that matters is the long-form version that gets stuck in the books the day you're born. Isn't the whole beef with Obama's released certificate that, despite being approved and released by Hawaiian officials in the standard manner, it isn't original and thus acceptable? How does an early baptismal certificate rectify that?
The hospital certificate is a telling inclusion, because that's not legal for much, if anything. But that's what Donald Trump released as his "birth certificate," so at least we know he's OK to run in Arizona. That's a relief.
And don't even get me started on the circumcision certificate. Who's to say a foreign-born candidate infant won't fly to Hawaii to get clipped? I say take it one step further and demand the actual penis ring. Let's get some commitment here.
Note too that the bill doesn't include short-form birth certificates. Which is weird just based on the fact that every state accepts them as records for driver's licenses, passports, etc. But it's also odd in that it leaves a gaping chasm in the document spectrum — a pit where you can almost hear the echo, "We're doing this specifically to spite Obama...bama...bama...bama..." You'd think the Arizona Legislature would be more coy about that. Or perhaps not.
Not that the opposition to the bill is much more tactful:
"Arizona is the first state to pass a birther bill. We look pretty much backward," [Democratic Rep. Ruben] Gallego said. "You might as well change Arizona to Alabama."
At this point, changing Arizona to Alabama would be an improvement. Alabama moved on a little bit.