Attorneys organize to defend judges

Howard Fischer

Capitol Media Services

A group of veteran attorneys has organized to defend the process of how most judges in Arizona are selected and stand for reelection.

And they may raise some cash to keep Clint Bolick and Kathryn King on the Arizona Supreme Court.

The two justices have drawn a significant amount of attention and face a campaign by a political action group to deny them a new six-year term in November over their vote that allowed an 1864 abortion law to be enforced in Arizona.

But the move by the attorneys to preserve their seats on the state’s high court could deny Gov. Katie Hobbs the ability to immediately replace them with picks of her choosing.

Timothy Berg, the co-chair of the steering committee of Arizonans for an Independent Judiciary, said members are concerned about what has been an increase in efforts to oust sitting judges simply because voters did not like one or more of their decisions. He said that’s precisely the wrong way to determine whether someone is fit to sit on the bench.

Berg does not dispute that, despite the merit selection system approved by voters in 1974, politics still plays a role in who gets selected, particularly for the Arizona Supreme Court.

“It’s there,” agreed Paul Eckstein, the other co-chair of the organization.

“It’s politics at a whole different level,” he continued. “There’s no doubt about it.”


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May 2024