This morning Arizona's Citizens Clean Elections Commission voted 3-2 to authorize its counsel, Joe Kanefield (Ballard Spahr) to file suit in Maricopa County Superior Court challenging the Lobbyist Shakedown Bill (HB2593).
Earlier this week, the Arizona Supreme Court declined to accept original jurisdiction for the Special Action filed the week before.
Had the Supreme Court accepted the Special Action claim, it could have decided the matter, yea or nay, solely on the basis of questions of law. However, in Superior Court, the litigation will involve witnesses, depositions and testimony -- and an extended time frame. No information is yet available on when a complaint will be filed in Superior Court. However, in order to prevent HB2593 from going into effect in September, an injunction would have to be granted. Whether a Superior Court judge will grant an such injunction is not a safe bet one way or the other.
Commissioners Hoffman (who was also an individual plaintiff in the lawsuit as filed in the Arizona Supreme Court, and is currently chairman of the CCEC), Koester and Titla voted to proceed with filing in Superior Court. Commissioners Laird and Reckart voted against.
According to Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission staff, the oral arguments hearing previously scheduled for tomorrow morning (July 26) in the matter of Leach v AIRC, has been continued (rescheduled) for August 13 at 10 am.
In addition to today's vote by the Clean Elections Commission, the Yellow Sheet reported that
So far, it looks like three of the four plaintiffs in the special action are on board with taking the case to superior court. CCEC Chairman Louis Hoffman, who is suing as an individual, told our reporter shortly after the Supreme Court rejected jurisdiction that he would bring the fight to Superior Court. Arizona Advocacy Network’s Sam Wercinski said his group is likely to join the case, as well.... The final decision will be made on Friday, he said. The one wild card is [state Rep. Victoria] Steele [D-Tucson], who told our reporter that she will meet with her attorney – Hogan represents her as well – to discuss the case. Steele expressed concern over whether her involvement in the case would leave her enough time to continue her work as a mental health counselor, keep teaching and continue her service in the Legislature. “The process is a bit different going into Superior Court. So, I have to weigh it with how much of a time commitment this is going to be for me and can I continue with all the other things,” she said.Rep. Steele told the Arizona Eagletarian just a few minutes ago that she had discussed the situation with Hogan and that she has, in fact, decided to join in the complaint as they will file it in Maricopa County Superior Court, likely within a couple of days.
Mesnard, who sponsored H2593, questioned whether the CCEC has standing to challenge the bill in court, and took issue with the taxpayer-funded commission’s involvement. “Whether someone else wants to sue Ihave less of an issue with. But this sort of kind of self-preservation attitude of a commission, I’m just not a fan of. It looks pretty shady to me,” Mesnard said. He added that he’s not an attorney and has no opinion on whether the other plaintiffs have standing. But he’s not really concerned with them anyway, he said. “None of the rest of them that I recall is a government commission, so to speak, so I have an easier time with that,” Mesnard said. The issue of standing didn’t come up during today’s meeting, but Hoffman laid out his case for why the CCEC has a direct interest. “Should the new limits go into place, I believe that fewer candidates would run as Clean Elections candidates. And those kinds of decisions are going to be happening quite soon,” he told our reporter. Commissioner Steve Titla echoed that sentiment. “With the lower amount, you have more people inclined to participate, and that sort of impairs or thwarts them,” he said.
This from a young whipper-snapper who thinks it's perfectly kosher for the GOP state lawmakers to pass legislation that is nothing more and nothing less than a naked power grab, subverting the rights of Arizona citizens. Note the video clip embedded in this blog post. Obviously, his first two initials, "J.D." do not stand for Juris Doctor. It also appears he doesn't understand the concept of standing.
In law, standing or locus standi is the term for the ability of a party to demonstrate to the court sufficient connection to and harm from the law or action challenged to support that party's participation in the case.
If the CCEC didn't have standing, I seriously doubt that Joe Kanefield would have taken the case to the Arizona Supreme Court in the first place.