Thursday, April 30, 2009

AZGOP: It's time for the Arizona State Bar to stop playing games

by Randy Pullen

We need fair and impartial jurists, and today I called upon the State Bar of Arizona to stop playing games with Arizona’s judicial selection system and submit a slate of nominees for the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments that actually have a chance of being confirmed by the state Senate. Constitutionally, the Governor is mandated to select one nominee from the list provided by the State Bar and forward the selection to the Senate for consideration. But the State Bar only forwarded one name to Governor Brewer for consideration, forcing the submission of an unacceptable nominee who stands little if any chance of being confirmed.

The people of Arizona expect more from their judicial selection system, and this cast of trial lawyers at the State Bar is making a mockery of the so-called merit selection and retention system. For years, the State Bar has promoted the names of the chosen, liberal few. They should be ashamed of themselves for failing in their constitutionally mandated duties.

According to the Arizona Nominating Commission, there are three judicial nominating commissions in Arizona -- the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, the Maricopa County Commission on Trial Court Appointments and the Pima County Commission on Trial Court Appointments. Each commission has 16 members: 10 public members and 5 attorneys, plus the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court or a designated Supreme Court justice, who serves as a voting chairperson.

These Commission members are to be appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Senate. Public members may not be judges or practicing attorneys. Attorney members must have practiced law in Arizona for five years and are recommended to the Governor by the State Bar of Arizona.

When Governor Brewer received the selection for the commission, she immediately wrote a letter to the State Bar requesting additional nominees. We all know that the State Bar had a willing partner in pushing a radical, liberal judicial agenda with Governor Napolitano. With Governor Brewer now occupying the 9th Floor, a balanced and impartial court system will hopefully be in order. But I’m not going to hold my breath. As the State Bar did the same thing to former Governor Symington. It is difficult to take the State Bar seriously when they are so obviously partisan in their selections to the judicial nominating committee.

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