Where Court Packing Is Already Happening

“Arizona’s Supreme Court had five judges for 56 years. But on December 19, 2016, thanks to a GOP-authored bill that was opposed by every Democrat in the state Legislature,Republican Governor Doug Ducey held a ceremony in the Old Capitol building to swear in a sixth justice, and then a seventh.

In all, Ducey has appointed five of the seven justices on the state court, taking a personal interest in vetting candidates with questions designed to ferret out a fidelity to textualism and an inclination to uphold, rather than overturn or tinker with, the law. His appointments, including the addition of the two new justices, have eliminated the court’s progressive caucus and swung it from a more moderate conservative tilt to one that emphasizes libertarianism, populism, and law and order, in line with Ducey’s own views. And the ages of its younger members mean the court likely will stay that way for years.”

“at least 10 states have attempted to change the size of their courts over the past decade, with Arizona and one other state—Georgia—succeeding. And most of these efforts were spearheaded by Republicans.” 

“GOP lawmakers pitched the idea of expanding the Arizona Supreme Court by arguing that businesses needed clarity on the law more quickly than five justices could provide, and that the growing state needed more voices on the bench to represent its diverse citizenry. While Ducey consistently has said he was not packing the court for political purposes, Republicans acknowledge they wouldn’t have proposed the change if it would have meant handing over two seats for a Democratic governor to fill.”


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