Three names sent to Brewer for Ariz. SC vacancy

By Jessica M. Karmasek | Aug 22, 2012


PHOENIX (Legal Newsline) - Arizona's Commission on Appellate Court Appointments has recommended three candidates to Gov. Jan Brewer for a seat on the state Supreme Court.

The commission made its announcement Monday, following a daylong meeting in which nine candidates were interviewed.

The three nominees are: Democrat Diane M. Johnson, a judge in Division One of the state Court of Appeals; Republican Douglas L. Rayes, a judge on the Maricopa County Superior Court; and Republican Ann A. Scott Timmer, also a judge in Division One of the Court of Appeals.

Brewer, a Republican, will appoint the new justice.

The opening on the state's high court was created when Justice Andrew Hurwitz was appointed to the U.S Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Hurwitz, who was nominated by President Barack Obama in November, was confirmed to the federal appeals court in June.

He will replace Judge Mary M. Schroeder of Phoenix, who took semi-retired senior status Jan. 1.

The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments is one of the three Arizona Judicial Nominating Commissions.

It is charged with selecting judges for all appellate courts in the state, as well as members of the state Supreme Court.

The commission has 16 members. They serve staggered four-year terms. Membership includes 10 non-attorneys, who are referred to as its "public members," five attorneys and its chair.

But the selection process could change come November.

The Arizona Judicial Selection Amendment, also referred to as Proposition 115, will be on the Nov. 6 general election ballot.

The measure, a constitutional amendment, would modify the appellate and trial court commission.

In particular, if it passes, it would increase the terms of judges from six to eight years and the retirement age from 75 to 70.

Also, the State Bar of Arizona will be allowed to appoint only one of five attorneys to a judicial nominating commission. Currently, the governor appoints five attorneys that are vetted by the bar association.

The measure also would increase the governor's options when picking finalists for the state Supreme Court, Court of Appeals and the superior courts of Pima and Maricopa County.

Currently, special screening panels review potential judges for those courts, where the governor can pick at least three finalists. If enacted, this measure would increase that from three to eight.

From Legal Newsline: Reach Jessica Karmasek by email at jessica@legalnewsline.com.

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