Gov. Jan Brewer (R-AZ), who has been a darling on the right for her battles with the Obama administration over illegal immigration, health care and other issues, has now taken a potentially bold step against the Tea Party base: She has vetoed a “birther bill” — a piece of legislation motivated by conspiracy theories about President Obama place of birth, requiring candidates for public office to submit proof of U.S. citizenship to the state Secretary of State before they could appear on the state’s ballot.
“I do not support designating one person as the gatekeeper to the ballot for a candidate, which could lead to arbitrary or politically motivated decisions,” Brewer said in her veto message, the Associated Press reports. Brewer herself is a former Arizona Secretary of State.
“In addition, I never imagined being presented with a bill that could require candidates for president of the greatest and most powerful nation on Earth to submit their early baptismal circumcision certificates’ among other records to the Arizona secretary of state. This is a bridge too far.”
Earlier, Brewer had foreshadowed her decision with skeptical statements about the bill: “I think my big concern probably, just shooting a little bit from the hip, is the fact that I don’t know if we regulate federal elections.”
It should be noted, however, that the bill had previously passed the legislature with margins that would potentially be veto-proof: 20-9 in the Senate, and 40-16 in the House. The question, then, is whether Brewer’s veto would take the wind out of the bill’s sails or if its backers will try to override the veto and be able to hold on to their numbers.