Articles Posted in Arizona Supreme Court

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Frank Tamburri seeks the Libertarian Party nomination for United States Senator in the 2016 election. Pursuant to A.R.S. 16-314, Tamburri timely filed a nomination petition which included 4,205 signatures. Robert Graham, Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party, filed suit challenging the validity of 2,845 signatures and sought to exclude Tamburri’s name from the Libertarian primary election ballot. On appeal, Tamburri challenges the trial court’s order excluding his name from the Libertarian primary election ballot for the office of United States Senator. Tamburri concedes that he did not collect at least 3,034 signatures from “qualified signers” under A.R.S. 16-321 and -322. As a preliminary matter, the court rejected Tamburri's procedural arguments. The court held that the signature requirements of H.B. 2608 do not severely burden the ability of candidates to exercise their First Amendment rights where Tamburri has failed to show that the increased signature requirements, either facially or as applied to him, would prevent “reasonably diligent” minor party candidates from gaining ballot access. The court concluded that the 0.25 percent signature requirement is rationally related to the state’s legitimate interest in ensuring that candidates who appear on the general election ballot have some significant modicum of support. Accordingly, the court affirmed the trial court’s judgment excluding Tamburri’s name from the primary ballot. View "Graham v. Tamburri" on Justia Law

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On January 27, 2012, the Yuma County Superior Court disqualified Alejandrina Cabrera under Ariz. Rev. Stat. 38-201(C) from appearing on the ballot as a candidate for the San Luis City Council. Concluding that section 38-201(C)'s language requirement must be read "in the context of the political office at issue," the court found that Cabrera was not sufficiently proficient in English to perform as a city council member for San Luis. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding, in relevant part, that (1) the trial court correctly interpreted section 38-201(C); and (2) the trial court's interpretation of the statute did not unconstitutionally violate Cabrera's right to participate in government. View "Escamilla v. Cuello" on Justia Law

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Joseph Lodge was a judge of a county superior court who sought to run for election to a new term in that office. To qualify for the primary election ballot, Lodge needed to obtain 525 valid signatures on his nominating petitions. Lodge timely filed ninety-nine nominating petitions containing a total of 1,110 signatures. Jill Kennedy, a qualified elector, challenged Lodge's petitions, arguing that they did not substantially comply with Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-314, -331, and -333 because they did not specify the office that Lodge was seeking. The superior court entered judgment for Kennedy and ordered that Lodge's name not be placed on the 2012 primary or general election ballots. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that the petitions failed to substantially comply with statutory requirements. View "Kennedy v. Lodge" on Justia Law

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This case concerned a challenge to the nomination of Lois Jean McDermott, a Democratic candidate for the Arizona House of Representatives. McDermott appealed from a superior court judgment striking her from the primary election ballot because she identified her name as "Cheuvront-McDermott, Jean" in her nomination paper. McDermott's legal surname was McDermott. The Supreme Court affirmed in part and reversed in part, holding (1) McDermott substantially complied with the requirements in Ariz. Rev. Stat. 16-311(G), which directs that the candidate's surname shall be printed first; and (2) McDermott's name shall be printed on the primary ballot as "McDermott, Jean Cheuvront." View "Dedolph v. McDermott" on Justia Law

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In early 2011, Colleen Mathis was selected as the chairperson of the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). In October 2011, the Governor notified the Commissioners of allegations that they had committed substantial neglect of duty and gross misconduct in office. The next month, the Secretary of State sent a letter to Mathis removing her from the IRC. Two-thirds of the Senate concurred in the removal, and Mathis was removed from office. Three days later, the IRC petitioned the Supreme Court for special action relief, claiming that the Governor exceeded her limited removal authority and that the Governor and the Senate violated separation-of-powers principles by usurping powers of the IRC and the judiciary. The Court accepted special action jurisdiction and (1) concluded, as a matter of law, that neither of the Governor's two stated grounds for removing Mathis constituted substantial neglect of duty or gross misconduct in office, as required by the Arizona Constitution; and (2) ordered that Mathis be reinstated as chair of the IRC. View "Ariz. Indep. Redistricting Comm'n v. Mathis" on Justia Law

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In 2009, the Arizona Legislature amended Ariz. Rev. Stat. 9-821.01, which, as amended, barred a city from electing its city council in partisan elections or in ward-based primaries combined with at-large general elections. The City of Tuscon filed this case against the State, claiming that the amendments to section 9-821.01 did not apply to it as a charter city. The superior court entered judgment for the State. The Supreme Court reversed the superior court's judgment, holding that because Arizona's Constitution includes a provision authorizing eligible cities to adopt charters, and because a charter city has the power to frame its own organic law, including the power to determine who its governing officers shall be and how they shall be selected, section 9-821.01, as amended, did not displace the method that voters of the City of Tuscon chose under its 1929 charter for electing council members. Remanded to the superior court for entry of summary judgment in favor of the City of Tuscon. View "City of Tuscon v. State" on Justia Law

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Citizens for a Better Arizona (CBA) filed a recall petition with Secretary of State Ken Bennett seeking to recall State Senator Russell Pearce. After determining that the petition contained more signatures than required, Secretary Bennett filed the petition with the Governor's office. Governor Janice Brewer then ordered a special election for the recall of State Senator Russell Pearce. Six days later, Franklin Ross, a District 18 elector, filed suit to enjoin the recall election, alleging that the recall petition failed to meet constitutional and statutory requirements. The superior court refused to enjoin the election. The Supreme Court affirmed, holding that CBA's petition for the recall of Senator Pearce substantially complied with the constitutional and statutory requirements, including the requirements that the circulators of the petition subscribe to an oath that the signatures are genuine and that the petition contain a general statement of the grounds for recall. View "Ross v. Bennett" on Justia Law

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Plaintiff Marshall Home brought an action in superior court to disqualify Jonathan Rothschild as a Democratic candidate for mayor of the city of Tuscon, arguing that Rothschild was ineligible to serve as mayor because he was a member of the state bar of Arizona and, thus, was also automatically a member of the judiciary. Therefore, Home argued that Rothschild should be disqualified from non-judicial office by the separation of powers doctrine in the Arizona Constitution. The superior court dismissed Home's complaint, finding Home's argument "spurious." On appeal, the Supreme Court affirmed, holding there is no incompatibility between the private practice of law and serving as the mayor of a municipality. The Court also found Home's appeal frivolous and awarded defendants attorney fees and costs. View "Home v. Rothschild" on Justia Law