Arizona’s long history of judicial independence is under attack by partisans seeking to “teach a lesson” to those judges who might dare rule in a way that could thwart their political agendas.
Judges in the state’s largest counties undergo a fair and non-political merit selection process in order to be appointed to the bench. The Judicial Review Commission, tasked with screening applicants, sends a bipartisan list of candidates to be considered by the governor for appointment.
Once on the bench, the judges run for retention every four years, and rather than rely on splashy campaigns funded by courthouse special interests, voters turn to the Judicial Review Commission which rates judges based on meaningful metrics provided by lawyers, litigants, and witnesses.
Unfortunately, the Maricopa Democratic Party has decided to disregard this time-tested process and target Superior Court Judge Chris Coury for simply doing his job.
Judge Coury received the retention recommendation from all 33 members of the Commission and earned nearly perfect scores from the people who appeared in his courtroom. However, the Democratic Party resents his ruling on Prop. 208 and rather than look at Judge Coury’s history and top marks, the Party has decided to play politics with our courts, setting a dangerous precedent.
We don’t want Arizona to become one of those states in which judges are forced to raise huge sums of cash in order to run glossy campaigns. Our courthouses must not be for sale. We must resist the Democratic Party’s effort to inject politics into our courtrooms.
We must reject the politicization of our justice system on every level. We can do that – close to home – by retaining Judge Coury.