In a somewhat surprising move, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer on Monday vetoed the so-called “birther bill,” which would require presidential candidates to show proof of citizenship. When the bill passed the Arizona legislature it seemed all but a done deal.
Wait. Brewer did?!? Jan Brewer? Yes. Yes, she did. Jan, thank you, Jan.
In an uncharacteristic move of sense and sensibility, the Republican governor — who, let’s face it, has a reputation for steering into the crazy, not away from it — surprised everyone with her veto letter, saying the measure “is a bridge too far,” according to My Fox Phoenix, and that House Bill 2177 “creates significant new problems while failing to do anything constructive for Arizona.”
Leading up to her veto, Brewer had been fairly mum on whether she would sign the bill into law.
“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 or circumcision certificates,’” she said.
And like that, until another state attempts to pass a birther bill, it seems the controversy over whether or not President Obama was born in Kenya or Hawaii has been put to rest.
The Arizona legislature could still override the governor’s veto, but that hasn’t been accomplished in 50 years. Such a move requires a two-thirds majority vote in both chambers, so it appears for now that legislators will not even attempt an override.
“Overrides are a real difficult monster,” said the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Carl Seel (R-Phoenix), according to the Arizona Republic. He said that overrides are as much about defying the governor, also a Republican, as they are about supporting the legislation’s intent.
Other reactions from state legislators have been mixed:
Democrats cheered Brewer’s decision Monday, while some members of her own party questioned the wisdom of her actions.
“At the end of the day, it was the right thing for Arizona,” Sen. Steve. Gallardo, D-Phoenix, said of the veto, adding that the birth-certificate bill “puts another black cloud over the state of Arizona.”
But Sen. Steve Smith, R-Maricopa, said the bill would have put questions to rest over Obama’s citizenship.
Rep. Jack Harper, R-Surprise, said he wasn’t surprised by her action, suggesting that Brewer believed the bill would put the secretary of state in an uncomfortable position.
In her letter, Brewer wrote, “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.”
It should also be noted that Brewer even vetoed Arizona’s guns on campus bill, perhaps a more noteworthy veto. That legislation, according to the Arizona Daily Star, would have allowed people to have guns while walking or driving through university and community college campuses. The governor said although she generally supports allowing people to carry their weapons in more places, the “poorly written” legislation had too many flaws, including a failure to clearly define public places where guns would be allowed.
When Gov. Brewer is the sensible one, what does that say about your state legislators?
Then again, she did sign into law a bill that states “Arizona would prefer that married couples be given higher consideration for adoptions than non-married people, if all other factors are equal.” In other words, she would prefer gay couples not adopt kids.
Two steps forward, one step back.