Religious Discrimination by Appellate Court Commission Brings Judicial Selection and Redistricting Process into Question

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2010
Contact: Aaron Baer: (602) 424-2525, ext. 233

Center for Arizona Policy President Cathi Herrod calls for commissioner Louis Araneta to step down after disparaging remarkas about applicant’s faith

PHOENIX – A member of the Arizona Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is being called to resign after citing an applicant’s Christian faith as a disqualification for the Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC). The IRC is charged with nominating 25 people to sit on the five-person body that will be drawing the new legislative and congressional district lines.

According to news reports and observers who attended the Commission’s public hearing on December 8 in which the Commission reviewed applications, Commissioner Louis Araneta voiced concerns with applicant Christopher Gleason. Araneta spoke out against Gleason’s application because it included “strong religious overtones” saying “there should be a separation of church and state.”

“Not only did Mr. Araneta completely mischaracterize Mr. Gleason’s application, but it is unconscionable that a person’s religious beliefs are seen as a disqualifying bias. Not one commissioner challenged Mr. Araneta’s comments against Mr. Gleason,” said Cathi Herrod, President of Center for Arizona Policy.

The only mention of Gleason’s Christian faith on his application is his membership on the board of 4-Tucson, a Christian community service organization.

“The IRC is designed to be a non-partisan, independent body,” said Herrod. “Mr. Araneta’s remarks and the Commission’s silence reveal a bias against people of certain religious beliefs. If these reports are accurate, Mr. Araneta should step down immediately, and the Commission should issue an apology to Mr. Gleason for their silence.”

“What is perhaps most troubling about the Commission’s religious bias is that the Commission is the same group that nominates judges for Arizona’s appellate courts. It’s deeply disturbing that those individuals charged with selecting judges would say that faith in Jesus Christ is a disqualification for public service.”

The Appellate Court Commission provides the governor with a list of judicial candidates in much the same way as they provide a list of candidates for the IRC.

For more information, contact Aaron Baer 602.456.1792.

Center for Arizona Policy promotes and defends the foundational values of life, marriage and family, and religious liberty.

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Statement by Speaker Kirk Adams regarding discriminatory screening of applicant for IRC on the basis of faith

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 13, 2010

CONTACT: Paul Boyer, pboyer@azleg.gov

Statement by Speaker Kirk Adams regarding discriminatory screening of applicant for IRC on the basis of faith

PHOENIX – “Last week, an applicant for the Independent Redistricting Commission was blocked by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, apparently because of his religious faith. In an open meeting, a Commissioner opposed the application of Christopher Gleason for the sole reason that his application indicates he is a man of faith. Nothing was done to address this outrageous and offensive attack on Mr. Gleason’s faith. The Commission then proceeded to vote to prevent Mr. Gleason from reaching the other legislative leaders and I for consideration for an appointment to the Independent Redistricting Commission.

I am shocked and alarmed that a Commissioner of a constitutional commission, acting in an important constitutional proceeding, would openly oppose an applicant because his application appeared too religious. It is totally unacceptable to suggest that candidates for public service in Arizona must check their faith at the door.

I call upon the Commissioner in question to apologize and for the Commission to reconsider the application of Christopher Gleason. This incident smacks of an unconstitutional ‘religious test’ for public service. The members of the Commission must address this issue immediately. It must be made crystal clear that the applications of all Arizonans will be given fair, merit-based consideration; and that no other applicants who appear before the Commission will ever again be targeted for their faith.”

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Robert Robb says State Bar investigation of Thomas “gross overcharging”

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Arizona Republic writer who usually disagrees with Andrew Thomas denounces State Bar trying to take away Thomas’s bar license

“Egregious overreach….gives credence to Thomas’s claim that he is the victim of a witch hunt”

Overreaching bar investigator John Gleason
Overreaching State Bar investigator John Gleason

Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb, who trends down the middle of most issues, has written a scathing column slamming the out of control State Bar for attempting to take away Andrew Thomas’s bar license. Here are some excerpts:

The investigative complaint by Independent Bar Counsel John Gleason suffers from a common Thomas ailment: gross overcharging.

Moreover, part of the complaint rests upon a view of the ethical obligations of elected prosecutors that is hardly settled law in Arizona. In fact, it is safe to say that elected prosecutors uniformly reject the view.

According to Gleason, there is no difference between the ethical obligations an elected prosecutor owes his governmental clients and the ethical obligations a private attorney owes his private clients. Moreover, the same constraints that exist on private lawyers regarding public comments about court proceedings apply equally to elected prosecutors.

A private lawyer generally cannot represent a client on one matter and be opposed to him in another. And in public, they cannot say anything except that all judges are great and whatever happens in court is just hunky-dory.
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Elected prosecutors uniformly reject the view that they are similarly constrained. They believe that they have been elected independently to exercise independent judgment and action not characteristic of private attorneys. They have a dual responsibility to provide other government officials with the best legal advice they can but also to ensure that other officials follow the law. And as independent elected officials, they have a right to speak out when private attorneys have to keep it zipped.

According to Gleason, because Thomas had an attorney-client relationship with members of the Board of Supervisors on some matters, he could not pursue civil or criminal actions against them on any other matters. Hence, he could not pursue criminal grand jury indictments against members of the board, sue them over taking away control of civil litigation from him, opine publicly that they were acting illegally, or publicly criticize court decisions and actions with which he disagreed.

This emasculation of elected public attorneys is contrary to historical and current practice in Arizona. It is not settled law in Arizona, and a bar disciplinary proceeding is not the proper venue to adjudicate it.

There are instances where Thomas ignored clear conflicts of interest, even given a more elastic view of the ethical obligations of elected prosecutors. He pursued a criminal investigation of the court tower after his office had advised the board about the matter. He pursued criminal charges against people he was personally suing in the racketeering lawsuit. Wading into the murky waters about the latitude of elected prosecutors was unnecessary.

Many of the alleged ethical violations are grounded in the claim that Thomas acted in bad faith for political retaliation. I doubt the evidence will clearly establish that. And there is an alternative explanation for events: Thomas and Arpaio…..actually believed in the existence of their grand conspiracy and thought of themselves as involved in some great Manichaean struggle between good and evil that required extreme actions. Given my knowledge of the two men, I find that actually more plausible.

The most egregious overreach is claiming that Thomas violated the federal “conspiracy against rights” statute for trying to stifle the ability of Donahoe to judge. This is a reconstruction era statute intended to allow the federal government to take action against the Ku Klux Klan beating up and killing freed slaves. Dragooning it into a disciplinary proceeding is the kind of gross overcharging that was so deplorable when done by Thomas and Arpaio.

This overcharging is a serious disservice. It is too bad the probable cause panelist, former Supreme Court Justice Bud Jones, didn’t pare back the charges before submitting them.

Unfortunately, the gross overcharging in the bar allegations gives credence to Thomas’ claim that he is the victim of a witch hunt.

The two State Bar investigators responsible for driving this are the Deputy Director/General Counsel John Furlong and the investigator from Colorado he appointed, John Gleason.Contact the State Bar at (602) 340-7239 or email the bar at http://www.myazbar.org/AZBarInfo/contactus.cfm to express your disapproval. John Furlong’s phone number is (602) 340-7301.

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Bruce Ash Endorsed by SA Writer for State GOP Chairman

With all due respect, former and current Tea Party neo-Republicans who haven’t been around much more than the past election cycle, please pay attention.  There was a Republican Party under Bob Fannin and the Executive Director was that dilettante who now works for the State Chamber of Commerce and Industry.  That was a Republican Party well suited to the political elite of Phoenix, a Republican Party that acted as gatekeepers to public office, and a Party who’s only “grassroots” could be found on the golf course.

That changed mid-decade with the 06 mid-term elections.   However, since his lackluster 08 Presidential run and his severe beating of a fellow Republican, Mr. McCain is feeling his oats and is trying his hand at restoring the Good Old Party to its former country club days.   But we cannot simply point the finger at one RINO without looking carefully at a very well oiled and teflon dipped seatmate, Senator Kyl.   Conservative?  Perhaps when it suits him.  Otherwise Kyl is the ultimate pragmatist politician, able to speak out of both sides without breaking a sweat.

Our new chairman will either maintain the proper balance between “top down” and “bottom up” party management, or they will simply return to the good old days which would please the Good Old Boys.  Never mind that the good old way will insure defeat come 2012.

Of the first two candidates, Mr. Carmichael was recruited by Mike Hellon and Shiree Verdone and they *are* Team McCain.  I’m equally sure that this decision was approved by Senator Kyl before it was announced.

Vernon Parker will run for anything. I often think he hates being mayor of that Phoenix suburb.  I suspect he misses the glamor of the Beltway and continues looking for excitement in all the wrong places.

Hermanson is simply not ready for prime time.  With absolutely no experience on the state executive committee he brings a shallowness to the state post that would likely not withstand the pressures from the delegation .  It is problematic as well,  that he seems to take credit for things he was only tangentially involved with.

My conclusion is that his own house in Pinal County is half baked and he should remain where he is and complete what he’s started before jumping from the Cactus League to the Majors.  If he finishes 2012 with a Gold Star and weathers redistricting than maybe he’ll be ready for Prime Time.

Which brings me to Bruce Ash who is not only a four-square conservative, but he’s able to play on the national stage and not make Arizona look like a bunch of Mayburries.  Bruce is also a unifier and is skilled at working with groups with divergent points of view.  And finally, he is a diplomat and statesman.

For the record then, Veritas will be voting for and encouraging everyone who really cares about the Arizona Republican Party to vote for Bruce Ash for Party Chairman.  Say what you will, Bruce is a class act.

Ronald Carmichael to enter race for AZ GOP Chair

The race for Arizona Republican Party Chairman is about to get a little more crowded as attorney Ronald W. Carmichael readies his announcement to seek the post. Carmichael, who resides in Legislative District 11, is rumored to be the hand-picked choice of Senator John McCain.

The 72-year-old lawyer is founder of Carmichael & Powell, P.C. and has served with the Maricopa County Community Foundation. Most recently, he was elected as 1st Vice Chair on LD-11.

Already, three other candidates have announced their intentions to succeed outgoing Chairman, Randy Pullen. Marty Hermanson, Vernon Parker and Bruce Ash have all submitted their letters of interest in preparation for the State Party Meeting in January.

Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash Announces for AZGOP Chairman

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: December 9, 2010

Tucson – On January 22, 2011, Arizona’s Republican State Committeemen will gather in Phoenix to elect a new Chairman of the Arizona Republican Party. With the future of Arizona on the line, Republican National Committeeman Bruce Ash has decided to seek election as Chairman of the AZGOP.

“The the past few weeks, there has been an overwhelming amount of people urging me to run for Chairman,” said Ash. “Their requests are humbling and I am deeply moved by their thoughts and concerns about the future of the Republican Party. After discussing it with my family and friends, I have decided to run for AZGOP Chairman.”

“Over the past 3 and a half years, it has been a distinct honor and privilege to serve as Arizona’s Republican National Committeeman,” Ash continued. As State Party Chairman, I feel that my experience and in-depth understanding of state and national politics can build on the success we’ve had and ensure our hard work will not be in vain.”

“In my view, the State Republican Party must be a professional organization whose mission is to win elections while promoting the conservative political philosophy of the grassroots,” Ash said. “Providing the leadership that will guide the AZGOP through the election in 2012 will be a full-time job, and I strongly feel that I have the experience and ability necessary to get the winning results that we’ve all worked so hard to achieve.”

“The success of the Arizona Republican Party has only emboldened our opponents to work harder than they have ever before, and we must be prepared for that challenge in 2012,” said Ash. “We can be sure that President Obama and supporters of his liberal agenda will stop at nothing to regain power at every level of government. While Republicans have restored balance in congress, we must understand that our fight has only just begun. Here in the Grand Canyon State, that means protecting the gains we’ve made at every level of government including congress and the state legislature. Plus, with the creation of Arizona’s new Congressional District 9, we can expect Democrats to expend a vast amount of resources in an effort to secure an open seat. With so much at stake, the AZGOP cannot afford a Chairman who isn’t prepared for battle. I have great respect for those who have also thrown their hat in the ring, but during such a critical period for Arizona, I believe that I offer Republicans the best choice to move the Party forward.”

Extra, Extra! Teacher union rules hurt kids – poor kids especially

by Matthew Ladner, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute

There are ugly results from a recent analysis by the Los Angeles Times and RAND Corp. that contrasts school employee layoffs with teacher performance in the classrooms of the L.A. Unified School District. From the article:

“Because seniority is largely unrelated to performance, the district has laid off hundreds of its  most promising math and English teachers. About 190 ranked in the top fifth in raising scores  and more than 400 ranked in the top 40%.”

 “Schools in some of the city’s poorest areas were disproportionately hurt by the layoffs. Nearly  one in 10 teachers in South Los Angeles schools was laid off, nearly twice the rate in other  areas. Sixteen schools lost at least a fourth of their teachers, all but one of them in South or  Central Los Angeles.”

 “Far fewer teachers would be laid off if the district were to base the cuts on performance rather  than seniority. The least experienced teachers also are the lowest-paid, so more must be laid off  to meet budgetary targets. An estimated 25% more teachers would have kept their jobs if L.A.  Unified had based its cuts on teachers’ records in improving test scores.”

Wow! Firing all of the young teachers, regardless of how effective they are, is simply indefensible. Likewise, holding onto all the older teachers, regardless of how ineffective some of them are, cannot be justified by anyone who gives a whit about the interests of children. But, that’s how the cookie crumbles with the teacher union contract.

Arizona is in the process of developing job evaluations for teachers and principals partially based on how well their students perform on independent tests. Policymakers should take steps to make sure any school district layoffs in 2011 and beyond do not follow L.A.’s horrible example.

With the Nation’s Report Card showing that 44 percent of Arizona fourth-graders are illiterate, Arizona cannot afford to lose successful teachers or protect ineffective ones.

Dr. Matthew Ladner is vice president of research for the Goldwater Institute.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Union trying to bully Legislators into changing law

Goldwater Institute: Does a certificate make a teacher – Or results?

Los Angeles Times: When layoffs come to L.A. schools, performance doesn’t count

Tonight: Federalist Society presents S.B. 1070′s effect on Arizona employers

Professional Development Program Series – SB 1070

The Impact on AZ Employers

Thursday, December 09, 2010
4:00 PM – 6:00 PM

Senate Bill 1070 (SB1070) was signed into law by Governor Jan Brewer on April 23, 2010.
This program will center on the impact SB1070 will have on commerce and on labor and
employment in Arizona and the likely impact on the businesses that engage in commerce
in Arizona.

thumb_GordonSFW.jpgMayor Phil Gordon, City of Phoenix
Gordon was elected Mayor of Phoenix on September 9, 2003, with 72 percent of the vote. He was re-elected in September 2007, with 77 percent of the vote. In 2008, Gordon was named the Best Mayor in North America by the London-based World Mayors Project. Currently, he serves as chairman of the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ Task Force on Comprehensive Immigration Reform. In August 2010, Mayor Gordon was appointed to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Local Government Advisory Committee for a two-year term.  Mayor Gordon has also built a stronger international presence for global opportunities in business and investment. His recent “bridge building” business and development trips have included Dubai,Saudi Arabia, Israel, Canada, China, Japan and Mexico.

kobach10-124x150.jpgKris Kobach, Kansas Secretary of State-elect here is
Professor Kobach received his bachelor of arts degree with highest distinction from Harvard University in 1988. He graduated at the top of his class in the Harvard Government Department. In 1988, the British government awarded him a Marshall Scholarship, which took him to England for post-graduate study. In 1992 he received his doctorate in Political Science from Oxford University. In 1995 he received his J.D. from Yale Law School. While at Yale, he taught undergraduates in the Yale Political Science Department, and in 1994 he won the Prize Teaching Fellowship, an award based on student nominations and faculty review. He is Senior Counsel at the Immigration Reform Law Institute, a Washington, DC-based legal advocacy organization that represents U.S. citizens in immigration-related cases across the country.  Professor Kobach is the principal author of SB 1070.

Steve_Gonzales.jpg Steven Gonzales, Assoc. Prof./Director of Experiential Learning
Professor Gonzales is a member of Phoenix School of Law’s founding faculty.  He teaches Constitutional Law, Federal Courts, Federal Indian Law, Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR), Property, and is Director of Experiential Learning, including the mediation and Hybrid clinics.  He is admitted to practice in Arizona, Colorado, Michigan, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and U.S. District Courts for Arizona, Colorado, and the Western District of Michigan.  He served five times as an accredited consultant at the United Nations Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues and the UN Commission on Sustainable Development (2004-09).  He is a frequent guest on local television and talk radio.  He was a Commissioner on the American Bar Association (ABA) Commission on Race and Ethnic Diversity, chaired the Arizona State Bar Committee on Women and Minorities, and serves on the Maricopa County Bar Association Diversity Committee and is a member of Los Abogados, Arizona Hispanic bar association.

Location:
Phoenix School of Law
4041 North Central Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85012
Map This

Cost:
$35.00 Members
$35.00 Non-Members

If you would like to pay by check, make payable to  “ALERA” and mail to:

ALERA, c/o Miguel Rodriguez, 2600 N. Central Ave., Suite 1800, Phoenix, AZ 85004

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

DREAM Act Passes US House: How They Voted

DREAM Act passes US House, 216-198. Here’s how Arizona’s delegation voted:

Ann Kirkpatrick – Did NOT vote
Trent Franks – NO
John Shadegg – NO
Ed Pastor – YES
Harry Mitchell – YES
Jeff Flake – NO
Raul Grijalva – YES
Gabrielle Giffords – YES

Official Roll Call

BANNED in America!

Great ad released by Citizens Against Government Waste!

Better start learning Chinese!

YouTube Preview Image

Here are the notes on the ad:

A new television ad about the U.S. national debt produced by Citizens Against Government Waste has been deemed “too controversial” by major networks including ABC, A&E and The History Channel and will not be shown on those channels. The commercial is a homage to a 1986 ad that was entitled “The Deficit Trials” that was also banned by the major networks. Apparently telling the truth about the national debt is a little too “hot” for the major networks to handle. But perhaps it is time to tell the American people the truth. In 1986, the U.S. national debt was around 2 trillion dollars. Today, it is rapidly approaching 14 trillion dollars. The American Dream is being ripped apart right in front of our eyes, but apparently some of the major networks don’t want the American people to really understand what is going on.

The truth is that the ad does not even have anything in it that should be offensive. The commercial is set in the year 2030, and the main character is a Chinese professor that is seen lecturing his students on the fall of great empires. As images of the United States are shown on a screen behind him, the Chinese professor tells his students the following about the behavior of great empires: “They all make the same mistakes. Turning their backs on the principles that made them great. America tried to spend and tax itself out of a great recession. Enormous so-called “stimulus” spending, massive changes to health care, government takeover of private industries, and crushing debt.”

Perhaps it is what the Chinese Professor says next that is alarming the big television networks: “Of course, we owned most of their debt, so now they work for us”.

Redistricting Applicant Pool Narrows to 25

Here are the latest names of those seeking a seat on the redistricting commission:

Republicans:

Jim Bruner, Scottsdale
Louis Armando De Leon, Phoenix
Scott Day Freeman, Phoenix
Patrick McWhortor, Cave Creek
Micahel Reddick Perry, Phoenix
Mark Edward Schnepf, Gilbert
Leslie Ann Schwalbe, Tempe
Susan Fried Shultz, Paradise Valley
Stephen J. Sossaman, Queen Creek
Lynn Werner, Tempe
Benny E. White, Tucson

Democrats:

Marcia J. Busching, Phoenix
Robert Lawrence Cannon, Phoenix
Eric Bruce Henderson, Holbrook
José Manuel Herrera, Phoenix
Lawrence Charles Mohrweis, Flagstaff
William Garfitt Roe, Tucson
Mark David Rubin, Tucson
Jimmie Dee Smith, Yuma
Marshall A. Worden, Tucson

Independents (not a D or an R):

Paul Bender, Phoenix
Raymond Frank Bladine, Phoenix
Adolfo P. Echeveste, Tempe
Kimber Layne Lanning, Phoenix
Coleen Coyle Mathis, Tucson
Margarita Silva, Laveen

Do you live on the wrong side of the power line?

by Clint Bolick
Goldwater Institute

In choosing where to live, Arizonans generally consider school district boundaries, relative property tax rates, crime statistics, and the like. One factor that ought to figure into the decision is which utility company supplies the power.
 
Two of the biggest players, Salt River Project (SRP) and Arizona Public Service Co. (APS), are on divergent paths. Ordinarily, private companies like APS are more nimble and responsive to market forces than their public counterparts. But in Arizona, the converse is true, at least in terms of renewable energy.
 
While SRP is carefully evaluating its renewable energy policies in light of cost and technology, APS is locked into a rigid renewable energy mandate for the next 15 years in which cost is no object and technology no obstacle. Not surprising, tariffs APS charges to meet its renewable energy mandate are already one-third larger than SRP’s, and the gap is growing. The added charges run about $6 each month for APS residential customers and into the hundreds of dollars for small businesses.
 
Why the difference? APS is subject to regulation by the Arizona Corporation Commission, while SRP, a quasi-governmental agency, is not. So while SRP is free to respond to dynamic energy market forces, APS’s renewable energy decisions are subject to the political dictates of a remote agency that is highly responsive to special-interest groups ranging from environmental activists to subsidy-seeking solar companies.
 
But don’t feel too sorry for APS—every dollar of the costs associated with complying with the ACC’s renewable energy rules is passed along to consumers in the form of higher rates.
 
The Goldwater Institute is challenging the renewable energy rules on the grounds that the ACC has no legal authority to set energy policy. But until a favorable court decision or legislative action, consumers unlucky enough to be on the wrong side of the APS/SRP boundary can get used to ever-higher power bills.

Clint Bolick is director of the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation.

Learn More:

Goldwater Institute: Miller v. Arizona Corporation Commission

Arizona Republic: SRP to review policy on renewables

Economically, we must choose: Texas or California

by Byron Schlomach, Ph.D.
Goldwater Institute

When it comes to economic policy, policymakers are increasingly looking to the two largest states in the nation as guides for what to do and what not to do. California and Texas represent nearly opposite visions for how to achieve prosperity.

Even though California is in an economic death spiral elected officials are looking for ways to tax carbon emissions, increase regulation, and they have basically refused to cut government spending. Meanwhile, Texas, with its welcoming business environment of no income tax and lighter regulation, is booming.

The differences between the two states are stark:

• The number of government employees in California has grown, but Forbes magazine notes that the state has not produced a single net new job since 1998.
• Texas has grown the number of middle-income jobs by 16 percent while California’s grew by 2 percent.
• Even film production in California has declined markedly; 82 percent of all films were produced there in 2002, now it’s only 30 percent.
• Texas now has more Fortune 500 companies than any other state.

California will find itself even more disadvantaged after the Panama Canal is widened in a couple of years. Large retailers with shipments from China have been looking for new ports since a California longshoreman’s strike left goods sitting on docks just before Christmas several years ago.

California’s situation proves that taxes and regulation matter. Even natural advantages like a beautiful climate and a coast line can be neutralized by over-reaching government. States become and stay prosperous when the private sector is free to innovate and invest. So, the key to avoiding California’s fate is to borrow from Texas’s tax and regulation playbook.

Dr. Byron Schlomach is director of the Goldwater Institute’s Center for Economic Prosperity.

Learn More:

Forbes: California Suggests Suicide; Texas Asks: Can I Lend You a Knife?

American Legislative Exchange Council: Rich States, Poor States

The Economist: California v Texas: America’s Future

LeAnn Hull drops out of Phoenix Mayor’s race

On Sunday, this message was posted by LeAnn Hull via her Facebook page.

To my many friends, fans and business associates,

After much soul searching, I have decided to resign from the Mayoral race. The needs of my family have always been my first priority, and with the difficulties which we are facing currently at home, I know that I am needed at home more than I am needed anywhere else! Thank all of you for your belief in me!

While the campaign only lasted 17 days, local political pundits are speculating that McCain-backed Wes Gullett may have pressured Hull to abandon her pursuit of the highly-coveted Phoenix position.

Jon Kyl: The purpose of the AzGOP

Jon Kyl (2006):

“I always have the view that the role of the state party is to elect Republicans to office. Period. The role of elected officials is to take positions on issues and to represent the people of the whole state. The political parties are more to represent the people within the party in a political context. What that means is, they need to register voters. They need to raise money for the candidates. They need to get-out-the-vote on Election Day. Those are the main things a political party does.”

This is the view of the political elite.  Is this what will lead the Arizona Republican Party?  Do you think for a minute that this view isn’t shared 100% by John McCain?

Bob Barr says Andrew Thomas investigation of Judges was warranted

A m e r i c a n  P o s t – G a z e t t e

Distributed by C O M M O N  S E N S E , in Arizona

Monday, December 6, 2010

Bob Barr disagrees with State Bar about Thomas, finds that Thomas’s actions were warranted

But State Bar announces it is seeking to disbar Thomas, Aubuchon

The Crisis in Arizona’s Judiciary, Part Four: Complaints against Judges Were Valid

By Andrew Thomas
The State Bar has just announced it is recommending disbarment of former County Attorney Andrew Thomas and one of his prosecutors, Lisa Aubuchon. It is a politically motivated investigation that is part of the Bar’s efforts with the County Supervisors to stop Thomas and Sheriff Joe Arpaio from illegal immigration enforcement and investigating the Supervisors for corruption in the $347 million court tower and in other areas. Former Congressman and Prosecutor Bob Barr has analyzed Andrew Thomas’s legal actions against Maricopa County Judges due to their involvement in this and determined they were justified. “Judge Donahoe used his position as a judicial decision maker to protect his supervisor, his lawyers, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (which was paying for the building and furnishing of a new court tower and had financed other court projects).”

As part of his campaign for Attorney General, which includes a promise to seek judicial reform, Andrew Thomas noted today that one of the nation’s most distinguished prosecutors has sided with Thomas’ handling of prosecutions and civil actions dealing with alleged public corruption in the Maricopa County judiciary while he was Maricopa County Attorney.

Bob Barr, former U.S. Attorney and one of the House Managers who prosecuted the case for impeachment against President Bill Clinton, has stated under oath that the criminal charges brought against Superior Court Judge Gary Donahoe and the federal civil racketeering lawsuit filed against county officials, including four judges, were legally and ethically proper.

In extensive analysis provided in two affidavits, Barr found probable cause to charge Donahoe with bribery, obstruction of justice and hindering prosecution, and a proper legal basis to file a civil RICO complaint in federal court against Donahoe and other Maricopa County officials.

Barr’s distinguished career in the law and government includes service as U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia (appointed by President Reagan); member of the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2003; and one of the House Managers in the impeachment trial of President Bill Clinton. During his time as U.S. Attorney, Barr directed a number of high-profile public corruption investigations and chaired the Public Corruption Subcommittee of the U.S. Attorney General’s Advisory Committee of United States Attorneys.

Barr’s politics are hard to pigeonhole. A former Republican Congressman, Barr was the Libertarian candidate for President of the United States in 2008, has worked with the American Civil Liberties Union to protect civil liberties, and personally disagrees with the illegal-immigration policies of Sheriff Joe Arpaio and Thomas.

Donahoe Case

Barr analyzed in detail the evidence against Judge Donahoe. He concluded “there is sufficient evidence of probable cause to support the charges that were filed against Mr. Donahoe.” Specifically, Barr found “Mr. Donahoe used his position as a judicial decision maker to protect his supervisor, his lawyers, and the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors (which was paying for the building and furnishing of a new court tower and had financed other court projects) . . .” Barr stated:

The benefit to him, which by law does not require a direct financial pay-out, included keeping his position as Presiding Criminal Court Judge, maintaining a beneficial relationship with the Presiding Judge of Maricopa County, and allowing the Superior Court to benefit from funding by the Board for the tower as well as other projects. The evidence demonstrates that Mr. Donahoe had an obligation to recuse himself from the proceedings in which he, as a representative of the Superior Court, had an interest in the outcome.

Barr concluded, “Given the fact that probable cause existed as to the charges brought against Mr. Donahoe, it is beyond dispute that any prosecution of those charges was indeed proper and cannot be said to have been brought for an improper purpose.”

He questioned the propriety of legal or ethical authorities second-guessing the charging decisions of prosecutors in this and other matters. Such reviews “may have the very real effect of chilling the important decision-making tasks undertaken by prosecutors on a daily basis and, in turn, hindering or obstructing the prosecution of Arizona’s criminals.”

RICO case

Likewise, Barr found that the federal RICO lawsuit filed by Arpaio and Thomas “presented meritorious claims, supported by detailed, cogent factual allegations.” This lawsuit was filed against members of the Board of Supervisors, four Superior Court judges, and a law firm that represented both of them at the same time.

Barr explained:

The original RICO Complaint ran 19 pages and had numerous specific facts that either directly demonstrated substantial misconduct and collusion among the parties or which reasonably could be inferred from the facts as alleged. In particular, the facts surrounding the funding of a new criminal court tower, actions taken to block the investigation of the funding for that tower, the violation of the rules of legal and judicial ethics by attorneys and judges involved, and the specific admission of bribery made by Presiding Judge Mundell to Chief Deputy Sheriff David Hendershott provided ample basis for an allegation of bribery to support such a claim in the federal RICO complaint.

Barr added that the complaints appear to have been filed in furtherance of an important public purpose. In particular, the complaints appear to have been brought to address a unique situation in which Maricopa County’s political leaders, county officials, and Superior Court judges were collaborating in an unprecedented manner to improperly thwart criminal investigations and prosecutions.

Pleadings in the lawsuit further explained “the manner in which the three groups of defendants-the county supervisors and county management, the Superior Court, and their shared law firm-worked together to thwart criminal investigations and prosecutions of themselves and to retaliate against county law-enforcement officials for bringing these investigations and prosecutions.”

Implications

Barr’s sworn analysis not only demonstrates the proper and courageous actions of county prosecutors, who now are being targeted unfairly by judicial officials for having exposed alleged corruption in the judiciary. His opinions also highlight the unique and serious events playing out in Maricopa County government.

Questions arise. How is it that the presiding criminal judge of Maricopa County and other judges could behave in such a manner and not be corrected or disciplined by senior judicial authorities? How could the State Bar be misused to retaliate against the prosecutors who did their best to tackle such an extraordinary situation?

And how could such alleged corruption flourish with the consent of other actors in the political and legal system?

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Battle for the GOP in Arizona: Tea Party vs Moderates

Plenty of intra-party battling going on in the GOP. Tea Party activists find themselves losing positions in the Republican party as McCain moderates take out conservative leaders in several legislative districts. LD11, 18, 19, 22 have all been won over to the McCain moderate wing of the party leaving Tea Party members with no authority. An email has made it to my inbox that demonstrates the attitude of the moderates toward Tea Party Republicans:

“So, the worst thing they can do is start thinking.” That is the mantra and the hope of the Tea Party toward their Republican brethren. Over the past couple of years we have allowed the Tea Party to hijack the Republican Party and lift from its foundations our core values. They have done so in our election; they have done so in our party; and, worst yet, they have done so with our help. What is next is there will no longer be a distinction between the Tea Party and Republicans.

More and more the line between Tea Partiers and Republicans is becoming thinner and less distinguishable. The messages may be the same, but the tones are completely different. If the Tea Party movement ceases to exist today, tomorrow or in the near future, it will not be because it has or its members have become irrelevant or marginalized. They will disappear because they will have been incorporated into the Republican Party. That is, the Republican Party is marching towards a more extreme conservative ideology. As evidence points when moderate Republicans speak up they are automatically tagged as a “RINO” or “Liberal.”

The current confrontation taking shape in LD 22 is a prime example of internal unrest, dissatisfaction and extreme rhetoric, that in the end, puts on the shelf once again rationale and a moral code that simply has no, and we cannot allow it to have no, one soul authority. The divisive division within the party will only make us more vulnerable to our common foe and flutter our collective goals of limited government, free-market economy and restoring constitutional verity.

Cheers,

Name Redacted