A federal judge ruled Monday that Kansas cannot require documentary proof of U.S. citizenship to register to vote, finding such laws violate the constitutional right to vote in a ruling with national implications. The ruling by U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson is the latest setback for Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who has championed such laws and led President Donald Trump’s now-defunct voter fraud commission. The 118-page decision came in two consolidated cases challenging a Kansas voter registration law requiring people to provide documents such as a birth certificate, U.S. passport or naturalization papers.
The decision strikes down the Kansas proof-of-citizenship registration law and makes permanent an earlier injunction that had temporarily blocked it.
In an extraordinary rebuke, the judge also ordered Kobach on Monday to complete an additional six hours of legal education on top of other requirements before he can renew his law license for the upcoming year. She imposed the sanction for his numerous disclosure violations.
Kobach said his office would appeal the judge’s “extreme conclusion,” which he said was unlikely to survive scrutiny by a higher court.
“Her conclusion is incorrect, and it is inconsistent with precedents of the U.S. Supreme Court,” Kobach said in a statement.