Thursday, January 7, 2016

Elections have consequences ...

... for who gets appointed to the AZ state Supreme Court. This we learn from the appointment of Clint Bolick by limited-gov-Guv Doug Ducey.

If you like limited government, and believe the state should spend more money on lawsuits against itself, you will be ecstatic. If you were hoping for someone who had judicial experience and might decide cases more on their merits than on ideology, you are, to put it harshly, SOL.

Here are some highlights of Bolick's background, what he brings to the bench (and what he does not), from the Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required).

Lets start with what Bolick does not have.

Bolick also was the only one on the list sent to Ducey who was not already on the state Court of Appeals. In fact, Bolick has no judicial experience at all

Now to be fair about it: "That, however, is not as unusual. In fact Scott Bales, currently the chief justice, was named to the court by Democrat Janet Napolitano directly from his private law practice."

What about Bolick's experience?

Bolick, a 1983 law school graduate of the University of California at Davis, has spent much of his legal career with organizations known for their battles with government over regulation.

... it has been at the Goldwater Institute, where Bolick has worked since 2007, that he has been the most active in his litigation, some of it against the state.

He challenged the 1998 voter-approved Citizens Clean Elections Act which allows candidates for statewide and legislative office to get public funds if they don’t take private donations. But courts rejected his contention that using civil, criminal and traffic fines to finance the program was an illegal tax.

He also has gone to court in support of giving a type of voucher of public dollars so parents can send their children to private and parochial schools ...

And he and colleagues at the Goldwater Institute are currently Republican lawmakers seeking to overturn a vote by the Legislature to expand the state’s Medicaid program, an expansion pushed by Jan Brewer, Ducey’s predecessor.

Bolick, however, failed in his challenge to the decision by the Arizona Corporation Commission to require electric utilities to generate a certain amount of their power from renewable sources, including solar.

When litigation has proven not to be the answer, Bolick has been involved in crafting changes to the Arizona Constitution, including a measure requiring a secret ballot for union elections.

He also helped push a provision guaranteeing the right of people to have — or not have — health insurance, a measure aimed at giving Arizonans the right to ignore the Affordable Care Act. The effectiveness of that provision, however, remains untested.

So here is a partial scorecard. Clean elections? No. Vouchers for private schools? Yes. Renewable energy? No. Affordable health care? No.

And about his tenure on the bench? "Bolick said that being put on the bench does not mean his activist days are behind him."

See? Elections have consequences.

You can read more in the Daily Star's reports on Bolick's appointment here and his activism here.

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