Debate Continues Over Expanding Arizona High Court

A bill moving forward in the Arizona Senate to expand the state Supreme Court from five to seven justices is clearly about politics, Linda Valdez writes in an Arizona Republic commentary.

One Republican sponsor noted publicly that he would not find the bill so attractive if the governor were not a Republican, but a Democrat, she writes.

Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales recently stated opposition  by the court’s five justices to the measure. It could not be justified by the court’s caseload or growth of Arizona’s population, he said.

He outlined $10 million in funding needs for the state’s court system, which has undergone budget cuts in the past, and outlined a scenario in which the justices could support the proposed expansion if the additional funding needs were met. Valdez takes a dim view of that scenario, suggesting the court’s support for its own expansion would be available for a price.