Legislation to expand the Arizona Supreme Court from five to seven justices “erodes the independence of the courts and makes a mockery of the concept of checks and balances built into our system of government,” an Arizona Republic editorial warns.
The editorial calls the legislation a power grab by Republicans who control the legislature and the executive branch, and likens it to a court packing attempt by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. It urges defeat of the measure. Last week, Justice at Stake announced opposition to the bill (see Gavel Grab).
In a related Arizona Republic column, Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales explains his own position. The court’s justices oppose the measure as a standalone bill. However, he would support it as part of a more costly package “that combines needed court funding, [and] salary increases” for the justices, he says. Bales disagrees that the court expansion legislation is aptly compared to Roosevelt’s court packing effort.