(CN) – The Supreme Court refused calls to grant stays demanded by Arizona, as it tries to preserve an unconstitutional voter law, and Michigan, which had hoped to keep a convicted murder behind bars.
Late Thursday, the court issued a special order refusing to stay the 9th Circuit’s slap against an Arizona law that required proof of citizenship to register voters.
A majority of the circuit’s 11-judge panel voted in April to strike down the registration element of Proposition 200, which Arizona voters passed in 2004. The court upheld an element of the law that requires voters to show proof of citizenship at the polls.
Requiring proof of citizenship to register to vote violates the intended purpose of the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993, the majority found.
Bernie Abeytia led a number of groups and individuals, including the Inter Tribal Council of Arizona, League of Women Voters, The League of United Latin American Citizens Arizona and the Hopi Tribe, in demands for an injunction shortly after Prop. 200 passed. They claimed that the registration portion of the law violated the NVRA, and that the polling-place provision amounted to an unconstitutional poll tax, violating the equal protection clause and the 14th Amendment.
Chief U.S. District Judge Roslyn Silver in Phoenix ruled for the state on all claims after the initial motion for a preliminary injunction made it to the U.S. Supreme Court and back.
Two of the plaintiffs appealed to the 9th Circuit, where a three-judge panel upheld the polling-place provision but found that the NVRA superseded the registration provision. The en banc panel’s decision mostly mirrored that finding.
Justice Samuel Alito said he would have granted Arizona’s demand for a stay.
He made a similar note Friday when the court refused to grant the stay demanded by Michigan over the release of Dwayne Ballinger.
It is almost the six-year anniversary of the deaths of two men whom Ballinger was convicted of shooting to death on July 4, 2006, over drug-dealing territory.
Last month, a federal judge ordered Michigan to release Ballinger from his sentence of life without parole because the court found that a defense attorney had failed Ballinger by not using the defendant’s girlfriend as an alibi witness.
The 6th Circuit refused to reverse the order, which gave Michigan 90 days to retry its case.
Michigan has told the courts that Ballinger has been using intimidation tactics since his June 18 release, according to the Detroit Free Press. It said people have been complaining to the state Attorney General’s Office that Ballinger had returned to the site of the killings and had been intimidating the family members of the victims.
Ballinger has also allegedly tried to learn the addresses of certain relatives and witnesses by asking questions at a local barbershop, according to the newspaper’s account of prosecutors’ testimony.
Ballinger reportedly denied the allegations.