Tag Archives: AZ attorney general

ABOR should implead the Arizona legislature as an indispensable party in tuition suit

I posted about this lawsuit over the weekend, AG Mark Brnovich creates a ‘straw man’ for our lawless Tea-Publican legislature on higher ed funding.

The head of the state Board of Regents, Bill Ridenour, blasted Attorney General Mark Brnovich for what he said is a publicity stunt Friday — he called it “political pandering” — in suing the board and blaming its members for the steep hike in tuition in the last 15 years. ABOR chairman calls tuition lawsuit a publicity stunt:

“The AG’s lawsuit, while it makes for good headlines, does nothing to change the burden for students and their families,” he said in a prepared statement. “The suit is full of attacks, but offers no constructive remedies.”

Ridenour said Brnovich is right on at least one issue: The “seismic” shift in cost from the state to students to attend one of the state’s three universities.

What’s wrong with the litigation, he said, is that it seeks a solution from just the regents, ignoring the role he said lawmakers have played in the 300-plus percent increase in tuition since 2003. And Ridenour said if the issue is going to be hashed out in court, then the lawsuit needs to involve more than the regents.

“If it goes to that extent, the Legislature is an indispensable party,” he told Capitol Media Services.

Ridenour is absolutely correct. ABOR should move the court for impleader of the Arizona legislature, because the constitutional provisions for which Brnovich is suing ABOR are actually express directives to the Arizona legislature:

Article XI, Section 6: The university and all other state educational institutions shall be open to students of both sexes, and the instruction furnished shall be as nearly free as possible. The legislature shall provide for a system of common schools by which a free school shall be established and maintained in every school district for at least six months in each year, which school shall be open to all pupils between the ages of six and twenty-one years.

Article XI, Section 10.  The revenue for the maintenance of the respective state educational institutions shall be derived from the investment of the proceeds of the sale, and from the rental of such lands as have been set aside by the enabling act approved June 20, 1910, or other legislative enactment of the United States, for the use and benefit of the respective state educational institutions. In addition to such income the legislature shall make such appropriations, to be met by taxation, as shall insure the proper maintenance of all state educational institutions, and shall make such special appropriations as shall provide for their development and improvement.

I cannot imagine that the court would not grant ABOR’s motion to implead the Arizona legislature as an indispensable party.

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Arizona Attorney General tests state preemption law against the City of Tucson

Last week, Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the Arizona Supreme Court to cut off the City of Tucson’s $170 million a year in state aid, claiming Tucson is violating Arizona ridiculous state preemption law prohibiting local governments from destroying seized handguns. Brnovich sues Tucson over firearms destruction:

False IdolsIn his legal filing, Brnovich contends the 2005 city ordinance runs afoul of a series of state laws that sharply restrict the right of local governments to make their own gun laws. And he told the justices that a newly enacted state statute specifically gives him the right to intercede and ask the high court to punish offenders.

Officially, the lawsuit asks the high court to give Tucson a deadline by which they have to repeal the ordinance. That is unlikely to occur: Just hours earlier, council members voted unanimously to fight Brnovich in court, though they did agree to voluntarily stop the gun destruction until the Supreme Court rules.

The 2016 law that gives Brnovich the right to take cities to court spells out that any community that wants to fight him must first post a bond equal to half of its annual state aid. Attorneys for the city are expected to ask the justices to declare that requirement illegal or, at the very least, waive it.

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IOKIYAR: Secretary of State Michele Reagan not accountable for violating the law

When Congress uses the word “shall,” it intends to create a mandatory obligation. That was the unanimous conclusion of the U.S. Supreme Court this week in the case of Kingdomware Technologies, Inc. v. U.S. (opinion). “Shall,” the Court emphasized, was meant as “a command.”

This is one of the cardinal rules of statutory interpretation. It applies not only to acts of Congress, but to state legislative acts as well.

A couple of weeks ago I posted New complaint filed against Secretary of State Michele Reagan – will the AG Act this time?

This week we learned “Oops! … I did it again.” Reagan’s office skips election manual:

MicheleReaganSecretary of State Michele Reagan did not compile a new election procedures manual for the 2016 cycle, perhaps the first time in decades, if not longer, that the office did not release the biennial publication that instructs county and local officials on the conduct of elections.

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State law requires the secretary of state to submit the manual for review to the attorney general and governor “not fewer than ninety days before each election,” a deadline that has already passed for the 2016 primary election. The manual must be issued no less than 30 days before each election, which some county election officials say is no longer feasible.

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[T]he law says: “Such rules shall be prescribed in an official instructions and procedures manual to be issued not later than thirty days prior to each election. Prior to its issuance, the manual shall be approved by the governor and the attorney general. The secretary of state shall submit the manual to the governor and the attorney general not fewer than ninety days before each election.”

Not this time.

Reagan’s office has decided it’s not necessary. To her, state law is more of a recommendation than a requirement.

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New complaint filed against Secretary of State Michele Reagan – will the AG act this time?

I previously posted about the legal travails of our hapless Secretary of State, Michele Reagan. GOP Culture of Corruption: Secretary of State Michele Reagan must go.

This week we learned “Oops! … I did it again.” Reagan’s office skips election manual:

MicheleReaganSecretary of State Michele Reagan did not compile a new election procedures manual for the 2016 cycle, perhaps the first time in decades, if not longer, that the office did not release the biennial publication that instructs county and local officials on the conduct of elections.

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State law requires the secretary of state to submit the manual for review to the attorney general and governor “not fewer than ninety days before each election,” a deadline that has already passed for the 2016 primary election. The manual must be issued no less than 30 days before each election, which some county election officials say is no longer feasible.

Without a new manual, county election officials are now using the 2014 version.

Several county election officials say they can’t ever recall a two-year election cycle in which the Secretary of State’s Office hasn’t issued a new manual. Maricopa County Recorder Helen Purcell said she doesn’t believe the state has skipped a manual for an election cycle at least since she took office in 1989.

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IOKIYAR: Secretary of State violates election laws with impunity and no accountability

Earlier this week, attorney Tom Ryan filed a complaint with the Secretary of State and the Attorney General seeking to void the May 17 Special Election and reschedule it to the August primary election or to the November general election, Complaint (.pdf), because the Secretary of State had failed to mail publicity pamphlets regarding the election to over 200,000 households affecting over 400,000 voters.

Ryan cited a law signed into law last year by Governor Doug Ducey, which requires “strict compliance” with requirements for the referendum process. Secretary of State Michele Reagan herself advocated for the law.

MicheleReaganReagan’s office conceded that it had violated the law. The facts are not in dispute. Reagan’s office also engaged in a cover up not pro-actively disclosing it’s violation of law until it was later discovered, but that’s another matter.

Reagan’s response to Ryan’s complaint  effectively boiled down to “Yeah I violated the law, so whaddya gonna do about it? The election is not going to be canceled.Reagan won’t cancel next week’s special election.

Which put the ball in the court of Attorney General Mark Brnovich. Stephen Lemons of the Phoenix New Times reports, Attorney General Says Secretary of State Broke Law, but Won’t Sue to Halt Special Election:

An angry Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich told reporters on Thursday that Secretary of State Michele Reagan “did indeed violate Arizona law” in not sending out hundreds of thousands of publicity pamphlets regarding Tuesday’s special election. But the AG said he won’t go into court to stop the election from taking place.

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SCOTUS upholds state legislative district redistricting plan (updated)

Every challenge the Arizona Republican Party has made to the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (AIRC) redistricting plan for Arizona has ended in failure.

SupremeCourtThe latest attempt has again ended in failure.

Today the U.S. Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion in Harris v. Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission (.pdf) rejecting the challenge to legislative districts from the Original North Phoenix Tea Party founder Wesley Harris. Arizona Secretary of State Michele Reagan  filed an amicus brief in support of Harris. Attorney General Mark Brnovich had to argue in favor of the Secretary of State at oral argument before the Court.

A three judge panel of the U.S. District Court for Arizona, by a vote of 2 to 1, entered a judgment for the AIRC. The majority found that “the population deviations were primarily a result of good-faith efforts to comply with the Voting Rights Act . . . even though partisanship played some role.” 993 F. Supp. 2d 1042, 1046 (Ariz. 2014). Appellants sought direct review in the U.S. Supreme Court.

Justice Breyer delivered the unanimous opinion of the Court:

The Fourteenth Amendment’s Equal Protection Clause requires States to “make an honest and good faith effort to construct [legislative] districts . . . as nearly of equal population as is practicable.” Reynolds, 377 U. S., at 577. The Constitution, however, does not demand mathematical perfection. In determining what is “practicable,” we have recognized that the Constitution permits deviation when it is justified by “legitimate considerations incident to the effectuation of a rational state policy.” Id., at 579.

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