Political Payback: Governor Ducey gives the ‘Kochtopus’ a seat on the Arizona Supreme Court

Cartoon_22Scott Walker, “the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by Koch Industries to run their Midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin,” had a political corruption scandal hanging over his head both before and after he was elected governor.

Walker, his staff and associates were the subject of  “John Doe” investigations by prosecutors into, among other things, illegal campaign finance coordination with Wisconsin Club For Growth and other “dark money” conservative organizations. John Doe investigations related to Scott Walker. These investigations threatened his budding presidential campaign ambitions.

The one branch of government in Wisconsin that the “Kochtopus” did not control was the judiciary, specifically the state supreme court. In Wisconsin, state supreme court justices are elected, so there was a way to make Walker’s legal problems “go away.” Koch Brothers and D.C. Conservatives Spending Big on Nonpartisan State Supreme Court Races; No Election Is Too Small For The Koch Brothers’ Money; The Stealth Campaign to Buy America’s Courts; How Dark Money-Fueled Judicial Elections Corrupt Our Judiciary.

The very same conservative organizations that coordinated to elect Scott Walker governor and to survive his recall election successfully elected a conservative state supreme court more to their liking. How Scott Walker and His Allies Hijacked the Wisconsin Supreme Court. The “Kochtopus” and Walker got what they paid for.

In July, the Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the investigations against Walker and Wisconsin Club For Growth. Wisconsin Supreme Court kills Scott Walker investigation; Walker sidesteps scandal, but questions linger.

Scott Walker’s political scandals now implicate the Wisconsin Supreme Court, and that case may be headed to the U.S. Supreme Court. Scott Walker Corruption Case Threatens to Implicate Wisconsin Supreme Court Justices:

It’s the campaign scandal that just won’t die. For three years, prosecutors in Wisconsin tried to investigate what they believed was illegal campaign coordination between Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and conservative outside groups.

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The Wisconsin Supreme Court dismissed the case, but on Friday, the case moved to the national stage when prosecutors signaled their intention to take it to the US Supreme Court. And the focus is now set to shift from the actions of Walker and his allies to potential ethical violations by the Wisconsin Supreme Court justices themselves.

Arizona does not elect its judges to the state Supreme Court or Court of Appeals. More than 30 years ago the voters approved a constitutional amendment, spearheaded by Sandra Day O’Connor, to institute a system of merit selection of judges. Judicial Nominating Commissions – Arizona.

But for the past decade or so, far-right political organizations in Arizona, such as the Center for Arizona Policy, have sought to weaken or to reverse the merit selection of judges to make it easier to appoint conservative activist judges to the court who will be political on the bench, much like the infamous Judge Roy Moore in Alabama, who once again is in the news today. Alabama chief justice orders halt to same-sex marriage licenses (in defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court).

Arizona’s merit selection of judges offers only a thin veneer of protection against the political corruption of the judiciary that occurred in Wisconsin. The final selection still rests with the governor, so it depends on the ethics of the governor. Yeah, good luck with that.

Cartoon_07Governor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, has now given the “Kochtopus” political payback for all that “dark money” their bag man Sean Noble funneled into his race to get him elected governor. The “Kochtopus” now has a seat on the Arizona Supreme Court.

Gov. Ducey on Wednesday passed over a long list of experienced jurists to appoint an attorney from the “Kochtopus” Death Star, the Goldwater Institute, to the Arizona Supreme Court. Clint Daniel Bolick is vice president of litigation for the Phoenix-based Goldwater Institute, and served on Ducey’s transition team.

Bolick is also a prolific author of Libertarian books that are a marker of his judicial philosophy, including: David’s Hammer, the case for an activist judiciary (2007); Grassroots Tyranny: the limits of federalism (1993); The Affirmative Action Fraud: can we restore the American civil rights vision? (1996); Voucher Wars: waging the legal battle over school choice (2003); Immigration Wars: forging an American solution (with Jeb Bush) (2013); Two-Fer: electing a president and a supreme court (2012); and Death Grip: loosening the law’s stranglehold over economic liberty (2011).

The best commentary on Ducey’s selection of Bolick that I have seen is from E.J. Montini of The Republic, Montini: Ducey’s new Arizona Supreme ‘Goldwater’ Court:

Gov. Doug Ducey has decided that the newest member of the Arizona Supreme Court will be the conservative Goldwater Institute, the even more conservative American Legislative Exchange Council and the right-wing billionaire out-of-state brothers, Charles and David Koch.

Wait…didn’t the press release from the governor’s office say that he named as the latest Supreme Court judge an attorney named Clint Bolick?

Yeah.

Same thing.

Bolick is a very smart big shot litigator with the Goldwater Institute, where he has been since 2007.

Technically, he calls himself an “independent” but he’s fairly simpatico with ALEC, the Kochs and their ilk.

And if you look at Bolick’s record over the years you learn that he and the institution he has run have worked very hard to cut the benefits and/or funding from cops and firefighters, poor people and public school children.

Now he is Gov. Ducey’s first appointment to the Supreme Court of Arizona.

I guess this tells us a little bit about the people Ducey cares about as well.

The Goldwater Institute fought to stop the Medicaid expansion for our poorest brothers and sisters in Arizona, a law that was signed by then-Gov. Jan Brewer. At the time, Attorney Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, which represented four Medicaid recipients who have intervened in the lawsuit, told The Arizona Republic, “It is easy for legislators to vote to deny benefits and health care to others when it’s not going to affect them. They are on the state plan at taxpayer expense, so they are all set.”

Exactly.

Bolick’s Goldwater attorneys also have been at the forefront of demonizing first responders over what had been a generations-long practice of work release, calling it a “huge and widespread taxpayer scam.” I said at the time, and still say, that our cops are not crooks. Not when they’re willing to step in front of bad guys with weapons for us.

But then, maybe that’s just me.

Likewise, Bolick is a huge supporter (with a professional interest) in charter schools. Strangely, or perhaps not so, while Bolick and the institute have argued often against perceived government secrecy and bureaucracy he is just fine with the way charter schools get to keep their books fairly secret and don’t have to follow many of the same financial and transparency guidelines of regular public schools. That might be good for the owners and interest-holders of those schools (like Bolick), but for kids?

Still, Bolick has all the academic and professional credentials to be named to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Gov. Doug Ducey was well within his right to appoint him.

The governor obviously likes and admires the man.

As for poor people and police officers and firefighters and public schools children, well…

If Clint Bolick is the political payoff to the “Kochtopus” for their help in electing him governor, I fear whom else Governor Ducey will appoint to Arizona’s courts as vacancies arise.

I’ve said before that Scott Walker and Doug Ducey are twins separated at birth, and they are both a wholly owned subsidiary of the “Kochtopus.” This is a bad day for Arizona.

One response to “Political Payback: Governor Ducey gives the ‘Kochtopus’ a seat on the Arizona Supreme Court

  1. We need to start informing the GOTeaP folks that their heroes the Koch brothers don’t actually live in Arizona, so why are they buying our politicians?

    That would seem to be common ground between the left and the right, that out of state interests are buying our politicians to work for them, instead of Arizonans.

    It’s not States Rights for Arizona if some other State owns our government.