Governor Jan Brewer Seeks Clarity from Arizona Supreme Court

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: November 21, 2011
CONTACT: Matthew Benson

Governor, Legislature Seek Explanation for High Court Intervention

PHOENIX – Time is short, and the people of Arizona deserve answers.

Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona State Senate today filed a pair of legal motions formally requesting that the Arizona Supreme Court reconsider last week’s ruling to reinstate Chairwoman Colleen Mathis to the Independent Redistricting Commission. Additionally, the Governor and State Senate have asked the Court to clarify its November 17 order regarding the removal of Chairwoman Mathis, and for the court to stay the order reinstating the IRC Chairwoman until further clarity is provided.

Statement from Governor Brewer 

“It is untenable that the Court has blocked me from executing my Constitutional authority to remove a member of the IRC, but has provided neither explanation for its action nor a timetable for when that guidance will be granted. I maintain that my action was lawful to remove the IRC Chairwoman based on her misconduct and neglect of duty, and ask that the Court reconsider its order of reinstatement. At a minimum, the Chairwoman should be barred from resuming her duties until the Court has provided clarity regarding its cursory order.” 

Statement from Senate President-elect Steve Pierce 

“The Governor and the State Senate have clear constitutional authority to remove an IRC member. When the Court inserts itself into this process, it has an obligation to explain its actions clearly. On Thursday the Court not only disregarded the actions of the Governor, but also more than two-thirds of the State Senate. The Court owes the people of Arizona an explanation on their intervention, and Ms. Mathis must not return to the IRC until we get those answers.” 

Statement from Speaker of the House Andy Tobin 

“I fully support today’s action. Last week’s order from the Court has serious negative repercussions on the constitutional separation of powers. The Arizona Constitution clearly gives the authority to remove a commissioner to the Governor, with a concurring two-thirds vote of the State Senate. The Court has in effect substituted its judgment for that of the Governor and Senate. Therefore, I’ve directed my counsel to seek intervention in the special action for the purpose of joining the Governor and the Senate in seeking reconsideration of the order.”



  1. Conservative American says

    Liberal judges do not infrequently avoid explaining their rulings. It’s simply liberal arrogance and a snub to the people. “We don’t have to explain ourselves to anyone!” The famous Ricci v. DeStefano case is a classic example.

    “Ricci v. DeStefano”

    “The three-judge panel (Pooler, Sack and Sotomayor) then affirmed the district court’s ruling in a summary order, without opinion, on February 15, 2008.”

    “However, after a judge of the Second Circuit requested that the court hear the case en banc, the panel withdrew its summary order and on June 9, 2008 issued instead a unanimous per curiam opinion. The panel’s June 9, 2008 per curiam opinion was eight sentences long.”

    So, Sotomayor tried to get away with not offering any opinion at all in this important case. The decision was overturned by SCOTUS prior to Sotomayor taking the bench as an Associate Justice of SCOTUS.

  2. True Conservative says

    Brewer writes: “I maintain that my action was lawful to remove the IRC Chairwoman based on her misconduct and neglect of duty, ”

    As a matter of law, she is wrong. The state supreme court has ruled she acted unlawfully.

    However, if she really thinks she did no wrong, let’s see her stand up to her co-equal branch of government and say to it “No, she’s still out. You don’t have a say in the matter.”

    Beyond the arrogance she displays in that one line, she is spot on in her request for a timely opinion from the Court. It may be, as I suspect, that the cure is in Brewer being more deliberative and precise in her removal efforts.

  3. If the legislative leadership is serious, the House can impeach the justices and the Senate can remove them from office. Then, the governor can again remove Mathis with the concurrence of the Senate. That should settle the matter in a very definitive way.

    Anything short of that is just bluster from “leaders” afraid to do what is necessary to keep the court of of the governor’s and legislature’s business. The courts have no authority or jurisdiction regarding removal of IRC commissioners – except for what they usurp.

    • P.S. I don’t think the legislative leadership or the Republicans in the legislature are serious about this. Some are too afraid to assert their political authority and some others probably think the court was right.

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