Our lawless Republican legislature and governor believe that they can do whatever they want, and fabricate any justification for it, because with one party rule and control of the Arizona courts, they can simply get away with it. There is no checks and balances, or any accountability to the citizens of Arizona. “We decide, and you will obey!”
This is arrogance of power.
Governor Doug Ducey has now adopted the shameful tactics of “The Donald,” attacking judges who rule against him with ad hominem attacks and personal insults. Is it supposed to be OK because he did not resort to insulting Judge Wake’s ethnic heritage? Gov. Ducey calls federal judge ’embarrassment to the legal community’:
“Judge (Neil) Wake puts on a robe in the morning and thinks he’s God,” Ducey said late Tuesday in the immediate wake of the decision saying the governor and state acted illegally in taking money from an education trust account without getting required congressional approval. “But he’s not.”
I would suggest this is more a classic case of projection. It is Governor Ducey who sees himself as “Dear Leader” of Arizona, and his words and actions are never to be questioned or doubted by mere mortals. The Arizona Republican Party has been full authoritarian long before Donald Trump came along. It is the model for arrogance of power.
And the governor said he intends to spread the word about what he claims is not just an incorrect decision but an active bias by the judge against the school funding plan that Ducey crafted and Wake concluded was illegally enacted.
“I want to tell you what everyone down at the courthouse needs to know,” Ducey said.
“It’s time for Judge Wake to retire,” the governor said. “He’s an embarrassment to the legal community.”
Finding the Prop. 123 illegal on a solid legal basis and reasoning is not “bias.” Just because a judge ruled against you, doesn’t mean the judge is “biased.” The only embarrassment here is Governor Ducey, and his arrogance of power in attacking a judge who ruled against him.
Then there are his Trumpian ad hominem attacks, and more importantly, Governor Ducey’s direct attack on separation of powers, the independence of the judiciary, and respect for the legitimacy of the courts. Ducey is attempting to undermine the legitimacy of the courts — the ones that rule against him — when he is not busy packing the Arizona courts with his cronies.
Ducey doubled down on his insults of Wake on Wednesday: “There are third-year law students at ASU that can write a more coherent opinion than the one that he put forward.”
Wake said that, as a judge, he cannot comment on the personal attacks.
But Ducey press aide Patrick Ptak, asked if it was unfair of Ducey to attack a judge who is unable to respond, said, “hell, no.”
“He stopped being a judge and started being a politician,” said Ptak, adding Wake “had an agenda.”
“He can’t hide behind his robe,” he continued. “If he’s going to throw punches, he can take them.”
If anyone should be fired here, it is Ducey press aide Patrick Ptak, who comes across as evil as White House advisor Stephen Miller. We definitely do not need people like this in Arizona.
Then there is the disinformation and lies being told by Governor Ducey. “Dear Leader” asserts that:
“This is an activist judge who solicited this lawsuit because he didn’t like Proposition 123,” Ducey responded.
The record, however, shows that it was an individual, Michael Pierce, who filed the suit on his own (pro se) in May 2016, without legal help, after the approval of Prop. 123.
What Wake did, however, may have kept the case alive by getting legal help for Pierce.
Andrew Jacob told Capitol Media Services he had run into Wake about five years ago at an event at a law firm, telling the judge that he was partially retiring and only going to work part time.
“I offered that if he ever had a civil litigant who had a case that had merit and needed help with it, I would consider volunteering my time,” Jacob said.
It wasn’t until some time later, the attorney said, that Wake called, informed him of the basics of this case and asked if he would pick it up.
“He thinks this case has some merit to it and the litigant really didn’t know what to do with it for the next step,” Jacob recalled of the conversation. Jacob said he agreed, at which point he said that the only thing Wake did is give him the case number to review the pleadings filed so far and get in touch with Pierce.
There is nothing unusual about this. I am sure that I am not the only lawyer who has had a judge assign him or her a pro se litigant to represent when adequate representation in a case was an issue. I have been Shanghaied a couple of times while just sitting in the courtroom waiting for a hearing on one of my cases. It happens.
What Governor Ducey is actually upset about is that this pro se litigant received competent legal representation, and then was able to win his case. Representing himself pro se, Michael Pierce would have been bullied by Ducey’s team of lawyers and his case likely dismissed. Mr. Pierce should be applauded for having had the courage to stand up for the rule of law when others far better situated to file such a legal challenge remained silent, and thus consented to the illegality of Ducey’s scheme. (You know who you are).
I find it curious that Governor Ducey is willing to attack a solid Republican judge appointed to the federal bench by a Republican president. This should cause people to question what Governor Ducey has demanded from the judicial appointments that he has made to the bench. Has he demanded fealty to his decisions, and those of his lickspittle Republican legislature, rather than adherence to the rule of law? Inquiring minds should want to know. This is troubling.
Before being appointed to the court, Wake argued for Republican interests.
He represented members of the state’s GOP congressional delegation which challenged the lines drawn by the Legislature — then with a Democrat Senate and Republican House — for congressional districts.
A decade later Wake was representing the Arizona Republican Party in its fight over lines drawn by the newly created Independent Redistricting Commission.
Even after taking the bench Wake found himself siding with Republicans on a redistricting dispute.
So when Judge Wake rules for Republican interests, he’s the brightest judicial mind on the bench. But when he rules against Republican interests, he’s an embarrassment who needs to retire from the bench.
This is arrogance of power.
This needs to end with the defeat of authoritarian Republicans.