Judge rejects challenge to D.C. law which allows noncitizens to vote

 March 23, 2024

In October of 2022, the District of Columbia passed a law which allowed noncitizens to both vote and run for office in local elections.

While the conservative Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) responded by filing a lawsuit, an Obama-appointed judge just threw out the case. 

IRLI says law "dilutes the vote" of citizens

According to Fox News, the Local Resident Voting Rights Act permits foreign citizens to participate in municipal elections if they would otherwise be qualified to do so.

However, IRLI and former Republican mayoral candidate Stacia Hall challenged the legislation in court, arguing that it "dilutes the vote of every U.S. citizen voter in the District."

"Because it does so, the D.C. Noncitizen Voting Act is subject to review under both the equal protection and the substantive due process components of the Due Process Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution," the lawsuit asserted.

The plaintiffs sought an injunction preventing Washington, D.C.'s Board of Elections from registering noncitizens to vote and counting their votes.

Judge says plaintiffs lack standing

Yet Fox News noted how in a 12-page ruling issued this past Wednesday, Judge Amy Berman Jackson determined that IRLI and Hall lacked standing to sue.

She wrote that their complaint "does not include facts showing plaintiffs' right to vote has been denied, that they have been subjected to discrimination or inequitable treatment or denied opportunities when compared to another group, or that their rights as citizens have been 'subordinated merely because of [their] father's country of origin.'"

"They identify nothing that has been taken away or diminished and no right that has been made subordinate to anyone else's," she continued.

"In sum, plaintiffs have not alleged that they have personally been subjected to any sort of disadvantage as individual voters by virtue of the fact that noncitizens are permitted to vote, too," Jackson wrote.

IRLI pledges to appeal

"They may object as a matter of policy to the fact that immigrants get to vote at all, but their votes will not receive less weight or be treated differently than noncitizens' votes; they are not losing representation in any legislative body; nor have citizens as a group been discriminatorily gerrymandered, 'packed' or 'cracked' to divide, concentrate, or devalue their votes," she insisted.

"At bottom, they are simply raising a generalized grievance which is insufficient to confer standing," the judge went on to declare.

Christopher Hajec serves as IRLI's director of litigation and he vowed to appeal Jackson's decision, stating, "This case is only just beginning. It was always going to be decided at a higher level than a U.S. district court."

" A free people [claim] their rights, as derived from the laws of nature."
Thomas Jefferson
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