Three finalists for Supreme Court: Brewer should avoid one of them

The Commission on Appellate Court appointments has sent up three names to Governor Brewer, who will select one to fill the vacancy provided by retiring Supreme Court Justice Ruth MacGregor. There are two Republicans, Judge Ann Timmer, and Judge John Pelander. They both have moderate records as judges. While Timmer is good on prolife issues, she’s terrible on school choice. The third, Judge Diane Johnson, is a Democrat with a far left record, who should not be selected. Brewer may pick Timmer because she’s a woman, and so she may want a woman to replace MacGregor. Or she may go with Pelander because he’s from the southern part of the state.

Diane Johnson – Scottsdale

Judge Johnsen is a liberal activist and her appointment to the Az SC should be opposed by all conservatives. She has only been a judge on the Court of Appeals since August of 2006 and has ruled on so few (if any) controversial constitutional issues it is difficult to ascertain her judicial philosophy based on her judicial opinions. Her activities before becoming a judge, however, led to the clear conclusion that she is a liberal. Before becoming a judge, she was on the board of directors of two very liberal interest groups and was a big contributor to liberal candidates.

John Pelander – Tucson

Judge John Pelander seems to be a traditional conservative who tends to defer to the government on many close questions, but because he has ruled on so few controversial constitutional issues it is difficult to say whether this is the case with any certainty.

Concurred in result in case holding that a city ordinance requiring single family homes to be wheel chair accessible did not violate privacy because building codes that affect exercise of homeowners’ “personal, private, and aesthetic choices” are proper exercise of police power, nor did it violate equal protection because the homeowners were not members of a suspect class and the law did not affect a fundamental right and there was a legitimate government interest which is enough to get over rational basis scrutiny. Washburn v. Pima County, 206 Ariz. 571, 81 P.3d 1030 (2003).

Held that a city’s restaurant smoking ban was not an unconstitutional taking because it did not deprive restaurant owner of all reasonable use of her property, owner did not show that she suffered loss of revenue as result of ordinance, and owner could have complied with exemption in ordinance by creating a “designated smoking area” as defined in the ordinance, nor a violation of freedom of association because it does not fall within the realm of certain intimate human relationships even though a certain amount of intimate private association may occur in restaurants, nor did it violate equal protection because the restaurant owners did not claim to be members of a protected class and thus only received rational basis scrutiny. City of Tucson v. Grezaffi, 200 Ariz. 130, 23 P.3d 675 (2001).

Ann Scott Timmer – Scottsdale Chief Judge Timmer appears to be a conservative jurist with an overarching textualist philosophy who sometimes defers to the government but often rules on the side of the individual. Her favor for competition and privacy may prove to be a double-edged sword depending on the context, as may her propensity for narrow interpretation of constitutional and statutory texts. She has taken the social conservative position in several high profile cases.

Held that court need to apply a clear and convincing standard for judicial bypass of parental consent for abortion instead of just preponderance of the evidence in finding that a minor did not prove that she was mature enough to give consent for the abortion. In re B.S., 205 Ariz. 611, (App. 2003).Held that Arizona’s ban on same sex marriage does not violate the Arizona or U.S. Constitution. Standhardt v. Arizona, 206 Ariz. 276, 77 P.3d 451 (2003).

Concurred in result in case holding that statute and regulations that prohibited use of public funds for medically necessary abortions, unless abortion was necessary to save the life of the mother, did not violate right to privacy, does not violate privileges and immunities provision of State Constitution because statute does not discriminate on basis of sex, does not impinge upon the exercise of a fundamental right for purposes of analysis under privileges and immunities provision of State Constitution, and is rationally related to legitimate government interest in protecting unborn life and in promoting childbirth and thus does not violate privileges and immunities provision of State Constitution. Simat Corp. v. Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System, 200 Ariz. 506, 29 P.3d 281 (2001).

Concurred in the result in case holding that a constitutional amendment prohibiting bail or pretrial release to those felony arrestees who “entered or remained in the United States illegally” did not violate equal protection or substantive due process guarantees. Hernandez v. Lynch, 216 Ariz. 469, 167 P.3d 1264 (2007).

Concurred in the result in case holding that ordinances shutting down private sex clubs on the basis of being labeled a public nuisance, do not constitute a regulatory taking. Mutschler v. City of Phoenix, 212 Ariz. 160, 129 P.3d 71 (2006).


  1. kralmajales says

    Wow…its sounds like the merit commission worked pretty well. Sounds like Brewer has two very good Republican judges to choose from and that the law was followed and one Democrat was appointed (that wont get picked).

    The commission could have sent two Dems and one republican. They didn’t. I suspect that they looked for the most qualified, wanted to give the governor a choice. They demonstrated that this process works.

  2. Gop Attorney says

    Only two democrats applied for the SC opening. One of the commissioners was quoted in the newspaper as saying one of the two D applicants that the least qualified of the 17 orginal applicants. That candidate summary eliminated at the initial screening stage. So the committee had no choice but to send two republicans and one democrat to the Governor.

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