Who knew Republican Gov. Doug Ducey was such a fan of Democratic icon Franklin Roosevelt?
Almost 80 years after the former president tried to stack the U.S. Supreme Court in his favor, it appears that Ducey is trying to do the same with the Arizona Supreme Court.
His shills in the Legislature are even using some of the same lame arguments that didn’t fool anyone back in 1937 when Roosevelt tried it. (He failed.)
Republican Rep. J.D. Mesnard has introduced legislation (HB 2537) that would increase the number of justices on the state’s highest court from five to seven.
The state hasn’t added justices since the 1960s. That’s one of the arguments Mesnard is using. Growth has put more strain on the justices.
If anything, however, it is the lower courts that are having trouble keeping up. Including those who deal with our most vulnearable citizens. Kids.
The Supreme Court seems to be doing just fine.
Mesnard also claims that having a few more justices will allow for more “diversity.”
Not long ago, Ducey had his first chance to appoint a justice. It was the perfect opportunity to add some diversity to the court, if that’s what Ducey was looking to do. Instead, he selected a white, middle-aged, male from The Goldwater Institute, Clint Block, who happens to be politically and philosophically aligned with the governor.
This isn’t about diversity or workload.
It’s an old-fashioned a gavel grab by a governor who’d like to run the state as an all-powerful CEO of a business rather than the democratically elected governor.
In an article about this by The Arizona Republic’s Yvonne Wingett Sanchez, Democratic House Minority Leader Eric Meyer, “We don’t really have a (caseload) problem. And quite frankly, right now, it would mean Ducey would be appointing more of the justices, which could potentially be a problem for our state moving forward. He’s going to obviously pick very conservative justices that might not reflect the state’s values.”
Then again, Ducey doesn’t necessarily want the court to reflect the state’s values.
He wants is to reflect his values.
And if this bill becomes law he’ll be pretty close to getting it.
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments would screen candidates for this newly-expanded court and make nominations. But the final decision would be up to Ducey.
That would give the governor three of the seven justices.
Lawmakers tried to get the same proposal through last year. Bert Brandenburg, the executive director of Justice at Stake, a national nonpartisan watchdog group, said at the time, “Court-packing for political gain was a terrible idea when Franklin Roosevelt tried to hijack the Supreme Court, and it hasn’t gotten better since.”
It’s gotten a little pricey, however.
Adding two justices to the Supreme Court is estimated to cost taxpayers about $1 million a year.
I’d guess that kind of money would be a big help to those lower courts. The ones who deal with less political concerns.
Like abused kids.