Washington, D.C.—The Institute for Justice, whose constitutional challenge to involuntary funding sources of the so-called Clean Elections Act was argued before the Arizona Court of Appeals on April 17, condemned a motion filed today by Arizonans for Clean Elections to transfer the case to the Arizona Supreme Court without a decision from the Court of Appeals.
“This is audacious, outrageous, and an abuse of process,” declared Clint Bolick, the Institute’s vice president and national director of state chapters. “This same group opposed our efforts to appeal this case directly to the Arizona Supreme Court. Now that the argument in the Court of Appeals didn’t go well for them, they’re doing a one-eighty.”
After a decision by the Maricopa County Superior Court striking down a lobbyist fee but upholding a surcharge on civil and criminal fines, the Institute for Justice filed a petition for special action in the Arizona Supreme Court. The State of Arizona and Arizonans for Clean Elections opposed the motion, arguing that the case should be heard by the Court of Appeals. The Supreme Court agreed and on March 19 denied the special action petition.
The Institute filed a new special action petition in the Court of Appeals, which granted the petition and heard oral argument last week. A decision is expected soon.
“This complete reversal of a position taken in the Arizona Supreme Court less than four months ago shocks the conscience,” charged Tom Liddy, executive director of the Institute’s Arizona chapter. “This desperate action more resembles the Twilight Zone than professional appellate practice.”
“Throughout this litigation, we’ve sought a definitive decision that would govern the upcoming election,” added Bolick. “We wanted it to come from the Arizona Supreme Court, but our opponents successfully resisted that effort. This is typical of the proponents of the Clean Elections Act to try to play by two sets of rules, not one.”
The petition for transfer was filed by Tim Hogan of the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest.
The Institute for Justice Arizona Chapter has five days to file a response to the petition.