Let’s face it, most of us don’t recognize any of the judges’ names on the ballot. These are important positions, technically non-partisan, but these jurists’ decisions can be highly partisan.
All seven sitting Arizona Supreme Court justices are Republicans, appointed by Republican Governors Jan Brewer and Doug Ducey from lists that bipartisan commissions compiled. They serve six-year terms, after which voters can vote to retain or reject them. The same applies to Pima County Court of Appeals and Pima County Superior Court judges, although the latter serve four-year terms.
Many Arizona Democrats rely on the group Civic Engagement Beyond Voting to stay current on a plethora of issues. CEBV is worthy of its own “Notes from the Chair” column. They do amazing work, including judicial recommendations. Before making your own decision, please read CEBV’s recommendations here:
CEBV is recommending NO votes on the following judges who’ll appear on Pima ballots:
John Lopez, an extremely conservative judge who Ducey appointed in 2016 when Ducey expanded the court. Lopez voted to bump Invest in Ed off the ballot in 2018, and to allow a business to deny a same-sex couple its services.
Andrew Gould is another extreme conservative who Ducey appointed during the 2016 expansion. In addition to voting against allowing Invest in Ed on the ballot, he voted in 2020 to prevent secure online signatures for ballot measures.
Paul Tang. CEBV has serious reservations based on a 2018 child-abuse case in which Tang rejected a mother’s claim that she, too, had been abused. An appeals court overturned the decision.
COURT OF APPEALS DIVISION 2:
Sean Brearcliffe. Brearcliffe donated to Ducey’s campaign while a sitting judge who Ducey was considering for a Court of Appeals appointment. In 2015, he ruled that a gay couple could not divorce because, in his opinion, their marriage was invalid. He said he had no obligation to adhere to federal court precedent. He sought to dismiss the case “with prejudice,” which would have prevented the couple from filing again.
As you review the CEBV site, you may identify other judges who do not align with your expectations of our judicial institutions. It is well worth the time to do your homework.