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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Legislature should tone down crazy as recalls loom

As expected, the Arizona Legislature is off to a crazy start. In addition to planning cuts to education and other vital state agencies, along with the cuts to the corporate tax rate, the Legislature has more bizarre plans in store for the new legislative session.

Some of you may remember the so-called “”birther bill”” from the last legislative session. This bill would require candidates running for president to swear allegiance to the United States, verify they have never been a citizen of a different country and prove where they have lived over the previous 14 years. It failed during the last legislative session, but last week Rep. Judy Burges decided to reintroduce the bill to the floor, demonstrating the insanity that’s running rampant throughout the State Capitol. Of course there’s nothing wrong with wanting someone holding such an important office to swear allegiance to the land that person is supposed to represent, but this bill is pointless and a complete waste of time. Unfortunately, the resurrection of the “”birther bill”” is child’s play when compared to the rest of what the Legislature is proposing. As fellow Wildcat columnist Elisa Meza pointed out last week, State Senate President Russell Pearce’s new focus is on abolishing the 14th Amendment, which gives US citizenship to anyone born in the country, regardless of the parents’ citizenship. This is nothing more than a political stunt, as a state can’t pick and choose which parts of the Constitution it wishes to follow.

Nonetheless, a public debate over this topic will only fuel the rhetoric of the overly xenophobic, extreme nativists that Pearce seems to yield to. Pearce was elected for his strong stance on illegal immigration, but these ideas show him not as an issue-minded statesman, but as someone who only has an interest in using the matter as a bargaining chip.

One of the more bizarre actions made by the Legislature is their attempt to exempt Arizona from international law. Why? A few years ago an Iraqi father in Phoenix felt his daughter was acting too westernized, so he decided to run her over with his vehicle, killing her. This action, throughout certain parts of the world, is justified as an honor killing, and some members of the Legislature are expressing concern that this may complicate his prosecution. This, of course, is ridiculous. Just because an action may be culturally acceptable elsewhere does not make it legal in the United States. Like many other bills passed by the Legislature, this bill is absolutely pointless. Also, this has nothing to do with international law, but even if it did, Arizona, as a state, not a country, wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. A state can’t just decide to stop following laws it feels are above its head. This is just another example of the Legislature’s obsession with political posturing, while being unable to do much of anything meaningful.

The Legislature’s Republican Caucus must be feeling pretty safe after increasing their seats in both houses after the last election. However, they shouldn’t be feeling too secure, as last week three groups filed paperwork to petition for a recall of Pearce and Gov. Jan Brewer. One group aimed at Pearce run by a Republican and is gaining ground within Pearce’s own Mormon Church. Is a recall likely? Probably not, but it is possible if the Legislature keeps up with its current craziness.  

The introduction of the “”birther bill”” and the discussion surrounding the 14th Amendment and Arizona’s observance of international law only show the Legislature’s leadership as incompetent and unable to rationally tackle the problems our state faces. They are excellent at pandering to the fringes and playing on people’s emotions, but are seemingly unable to govern. This had better change, or Pearce and Brewer just may find themselves in the embarrassing position of facing a recall election.

— Andrew Shepherd is a political science senior. He can be reached at

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