A Monday decision from the U.S. Supreme Court compels Arizona’s top Republican leaders to sit for depositions in an ongoing federal lawsuit concerning state voting rights.
In their brief order, the justices refused to block the testimony from Arizona House Speaker Ben Toma and Arizona Senate President Warren Petersen – both Republicans – where they must explain, under oath, why they supported state laws requiring proof of citizenship to vote.
Civil rights groups have argued that those laws, passed last year, are racially discriminatory. The Biden administration has also filed a separate lawsuit.
Toma and Petersen, meanwhile, have defended the laws from legal challenges after the state’s governor and attorney general refused to do so.
A federal district court judge ordered Toma and Petersen to sit for depositions explaining their reasons for defending the law.
The court’s decision on Monday effectively rejects claims from Toma and Petersen that a deposition would violate legislative privilege – meaning that lawmakers are shielded from criminal and civil liability. The GOP lawmakers had filed an emergency request with the court.
A federal judge tossed out the state laws in September on the grounds that federal laws control proof-of-citizenship mandates.
The case has not gone into effect or to trial, but it could potentially have significant ramifications in a swing state going into the 2024 presidential election.
The lawsuits included a coalition of civil, political, and voting groups including Mi Familia Vota, Living United for Change in Arizona, the national and state Democratic Party, and three other individuals.
Fox News’ Shannon Bream and Bill Mears contributed to this report.