Having considered the filings in this matter by the petitioner, the intervenor, the respondents, and the amici curiae, and thearguments of counsel,
1. The Court accepts jurisdiction of the petition for special action, having concluded that it has jurisdiction under Article 6, Section 5(1) of the Arizona Constitution;
2. The Court concludes that the issues presented in this matter are not political questions and are therefore justiciable.See Brewer v. Burns, 222 Ariz. 234, 238-39 ¶¶ 16-22, 213 P.3d671, 675-76 (2009);
3. The Court concludes that the letter of November 1, 2011, from the Acting Governor to the intervenor Colleen Mathis does not demonstrate “substantial neglect of duty, gross misconduct in office, or inability to discharge the duties of office” by the intervenor Mathis, as required under Article 4, Part 2, Section 1(10) of the Arizona Constitution;
Therefore, the Court grants the relief requested by the intervenor Mathis and orders that she be reinstated as chair of the Independent Redistricting Commission.
The Court in due course will issue an opinion more fully detailing its reasoning in this matter.
DATED this ____________ day of November, 2011.
FOR THE COURT_____________________________________Andrew D. Hurwitz, Vice Chief Justice
After hearing of the ruling, AIRC public information officer Stuart Robinson sent out the following:
Once the executive director has contacted the five commissioners and determined how they want to move forward, the staff will make the appropriate arrangements.
By the way, Sen. Biggshot was not even willing to make eye contact with me today after the oral arguments hearing wrapped.
Prior to the hearing, Capitol Media Services correspondent Howie Fischer -- admittedly being his typical wise guy self -- could be heard asking Brewer's chief mouthpiece Matt Benson if he had the governor's concession letter written yet.
Perhaps Howie's a wise guy/smart ass, but in this case he was reflecting what many hoped would happened.
This afternoon's ruling does not automatically halt the process of screening applicants for what now would simply be a hypothetical vacancy on the AIRC. I've asked the court spokeswoman and will hopefully have an answer sometime tomorrow.