JAS Reiterates Opposition to Arizona ‘Court Packing’ Bill

Harrison_MarkJustice at Stake Board Chair Mark Harrison, a Phoenix attorney, took a strong stance against legislation to expand the Arizona Supreme Court and cautioned against a political “quid pro quo” in an interview with The Kingman Daily Miner.

Last week, Harrison said, “Arizonans have repeatedly stood against partisan political tampering with our courts, so we’re disappointed to see this fresh attempt by legislators bent on politically-motivated court packing in the state” (see Gavel Grab). The Daily Miner has since reported that the Arizona Judicial Council, the court system’s policymaking arm, cast a split vote to support the expansion if it meant other critical funding needs of the courts would be met.

“The Legislature has to make sure the court has adequate funding without any political quid pro quo,” Harrison told the newspaper. “This is inappropriate.” If it were Democrats and not Republicans pushing for expansion of the court from five to seven members in this situation he would similarly oppose it, Harrison said.

“I just think this Legislature should do its job and not use its political power for partisan gain. The court obviously needs the funding. The Legislature shouldn’t use that need to pack the court,” Harrison said.