GOP Legislators win appeal on Medicaid expansion

April 23, 2014

The lawsuit filed against Arizona’s Medicaid Expansion —- an issue which caused mammoth legislative rifts last year —- has been given new life as Division One of the state Court of Appeals ruled that thirty-six Republican legislators,* two constituents whose representatives voted against the bill, and taxpayer Tom Jenney, have a constitutional right to challenge the law and the tax levy it imposes.

The Arizona court rejected Gov. Jan Brewer’s assertion that a simple majority of lawmakers have the constitutional authority to decide when a measure needs a two-thirds vote. In the court’s 11-page ruling, Appellate Judge John Gemmill wrote that ignores the actual language of the Arizona Constitution.

A petulant Brewer, who disingenuously called the tax levy an “assessment,” has promised to take the issue to the AZ Supreme Court. All new taxes are subject to a two-thirds legislative vote in the state of Arizona. Brewer pushed this tax through during a special session. The late night ‘debate’ did not allow those in opposition to  speak.

Read the opinion delivered by the three judge panel.

* Andy Biggs,  Andy Tobin; Nancy Barto; Judy  Burges; Chester Crandell; Gail Griffin; Al Melvin; Kelli Ward; Steve Yarbrough; Kimberly Yee; John Allen; Brenda Barton; Sonny Borrelli; Paul Boyer; Karen Fann; Eddie Farnsworth; Thomas Forese; David Gowan; Rick Gray; John Kavanagh; Adam Kwasman; Debbie Lesko; David Livingston; Phil Lovas; J.D. Mesnard; Darin Mitchell; Steve Montenegro; Justin Olson; Warren Peterson; Justin Pierce; Carl Seel; Steve Smith; David Stevens; Bob Thorpe; Kelly Townsend; Michelle Ugenti.


SCOTUS scores win for political free speech

April 3, 2014

Herman Cain correctly predicated a “left-wing hissy fit.” McCain doesn’t disappoint

In a major victory for the First Amendment, the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday struck down a federal law limiting how much money a citizen may contribute to political campaigns during an election cycle. The limitation was initially imposed in 1971 and reworked several times before it was overhauled by the McCain/Feingold Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002.    

Yes.  That McCain.

The Court’s five-to-four decision in McCutcheon v. FEC (read here) removes the 1971 limit on political speech.

Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “There is no right more basic in our democracy than the right to participate in electing our political leaders. Money in politics may at times seem repugnant to some, but so too does much of what the First Amendment protects. If the First Amendment protects flag burning, funeral protests, and Nazi parades —- despite the profound offense such spectacles cause —- it surely protects political campaign speech despite popular opposition.”

“This is especially true for elections,” he wrote. The Supreme Court in 1971 held that “the First Amendment has its fullest and most urgent application precisely to the conduct of campaigns for political office.”

Predictably, Democrat Nancy Pelosi whined, “I’m concerned about what it means for our democracy. Our founders, they sacrificed their lives, their liberty, their sacred honor for a democracy: a government of the many, not a government of the money. It’s totally ridiculous. But that is the path that this court is on.”

Once again, Pelosi is wrong.  Campaign finance laws have been an incumbent protection racket. Their survival is threatened when newcomers have the ability to become more viable candidates. Pelosi joins the other leftists who are throwing tantrums over this

And while Republicans overwhelmingly applauded the victory for free speech, it was no surprise that John McCain came out against the decision. McCain, who co-sponsored the campaign finance law that restricted corporate donations to campaigns —- largely struck down by the Citizens United ruling —- released this written statement in which he emulated his Democrat cohorts:

“I was disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision today. While I have advocated for increasing the aggregate limits on individual contributions to candidates and party committees, I am concerned that today’s ruling may represent the latest step in an effort by a majority of the court to dismantle entirely the longstanding structure of campaign finance law erected to limit the undue influence of special interests on American politics. I predict that as a result of recent court decisions, there will be scandals involving corrupt public officials and unlimited, anonymous campaign contributions that will force the system to be reformed once again.”

There’s no way to improve on this comment on Best of Cain:

“Look on the bright side, Democrats. When you lose in November, you’ll have a brand new, ready-made, excuse. It’s not your disastrous, unpopular, policies and your atrocious President that are causing your failure.  It’s evil Republican money.  It won’t be true, but you can put it on a t-shirt and sell it to the sheep. It’ll be a new way to raise all that money you despise!”

Bingo!


AG Tom Horne: AZ prevails in voter citizenship legal battle

March 20, 2014

Media cover-up of serious voter fraud

Arizona Attorney General Tom Horne has announced that Arizona has won a significant victory in the legal battle to require voters to provide evidence of U.S. citizenship as mandated by Arizona law.

Arizona joined Kansas in a federal lawsuit against the Federal Election Assistance Commission, which had denied requests by both states to vary the federal election registration form to include proof of citizenship. The court ruled Wednesday that the Election Assistance Commission exceeded its authority in denying those requests, and ordered the Commission to help Arizona and Kansas enforce their voter identification laws.

Attorney General Tom Horne personally argued this case before the United States Supreme Court (Transcript here). The language of that Supreme Court case dictated Wednesday’s result in the District Court. 

 “There’s been a media cover-up of the seriousness of voter fraud in Arizona. In an earlier trial, a Federal District Judge in Arizona found that voter fraud is a serious problem in Arizona. This decision is an important victory for the people of Arizona against the Obama Administration, assuring that only Arizona residents and not illegals, vote in Arizona elections,” Attorney General Horne said.

U.S. District Judge Eric Melgren in Wichita ruled that the commission has no legal authority to deny requests from Kansas and Arizona to add state-specific instructions to a national voter registration form. Melgren ordered the commission to immediately modify a national voter registration form to add special instructions for Arizona and Kansas residents about their states’ proof-of-citizenship requirements.

Both states require new voters to provide a birth certificate, passport or other documentation to prove their U.S. citizenship to election officials. The federal registration form requires only that prospective voters sign a statement declaring they are citizens.

This ruing has paved the way for all states to enact much needed proof-of-citizenship requirements, which protect ballot integrity.

Read the background on this fight against voter fraud

Prop. 200, theArizona Taxpayer and Citizen Protection Act,” passed in 2004 by a vote of 1,041,741 – 830,467.

Seeing Red AZ has addressed this serious problem previously:

Illegals voting in AZ? Never happens. Move along  Nov. 20, 2013

AZ AG Horne argues Voting Rights Act to SCOTUS  March 18. 2013

U.S. Supreme Court to hear AZ Voter ID case  Oct. 23, 2012

Voter fraud exposé? Don’t look to AZ República Aug. 25, 2012

AZ AG Horne argues in favor of voter’s proof of citizenship   June 22, 2011

AZ AG Tom Horne: Protecting ballot integrity  June 8, 2011


McCain, Flake approve Obama’s federal judges

March 1, 2014

Not many Arizonans are aware there is a dire emergency due to a dearth of judges in the state’s federal courts. Fortunately for us, the Senate Judiciary Committee is taking steps to rectify the problem by approving six candidates nominated by Barack Obama to fill judicial vacancies at the U.S. District Court for Arizona.

These lifetime appointments* are intensely political and usually accompanied by partisan wrangling at the highest levels.

But according to Senate Judiciary Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), typical spirited partisan debate took a backseat thanks to the bipartisan efforts of Arizona Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake.

“I expect that this diverse group of judicial nominees will be confirmed now that they have been reported out of Committee and have the support of their home state Senators,” Democrat Leahy complimented.  “The progress we made today in the committee to move these nominations forward would not have occurred without the support of Senator McCain and Senator Flake. I thank them for their support today and I hope the Senate quickly confirms these nominees who are urgently needed in the state of Arizona.”

Such actions are nothing new for McCain and his junior senator. Previously, McCain and then-Sen. Jon Kyl endorsed and voted for a rash of extreme liberals to the courts as well as to other key posts.

The six latest candidates on the Democrat-heavy list nominated Feb. 27, for the U.S. District Court for Arizona are Steven Paul Logan, John Joseph Tuchi, Diane J. Humetewa, Rosemary Marquez, Douglas L. Rayes and James Alan Soto.  (Notice can be read here.)

The nominees will require confirmation by the full senate.

*Once a judge meets age and service requirements he or she may retire and will then earn his or her final salary for the remainder of his or her life, plus cost of living increases

More here: 28 U.S.C. § 371 : US Code – Section 371: Retirement on salary; retirement in senior status.


Brnovich’s campaign ads violate code of conduct

February 5, 2014

Mark Brnovich is a candidate for Attorney General, recruited by McCain allies to challenge a conservative incumbent. Brnovich’s wife, Susan, is a Maricopa County Superior Court judge, appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2009.  Although liberal Napolitano reserved her appointments for kindred spirits, Judge Brnovich’s problem has to do with ethical violations rather than her associations. Susan M. Skibba Brnovich has appeared in her husband’s political commercials (one such video is linked here), in which she is identified as a former prosecutor. That’s true. However as a judge, she is prohibited from such activities. She’s been on the bench long enough to have at least a passing knowledge of the Canons of Ethics. Her husband Mark, a candidate for the state’s top law enforcement post, who purports himself to be a devoted family man, should not have encouraged his wife to engage in such a violation.

The Arizona Code of Judicial Conduct is very clear in citing which political activities judges are permitted to engage in (Page 35).

CANON 4

A  JUDGE OR CANDIDATE FOR JUDICIAL OFFICE SHALL NOT ENGAGE IN POLITICAL OR CAMPAIGN ACTIVITY THAT IS INCONSISTENT WITH THE INDEPENDENCE, INTEGRITY, OR IMPARTIALITY OF THE JUDICIARY.

RULE 4.1. Political and Campaign Activities of Judges and Judicial Candidates in General

(A) A judge or a judicial candidate shall not do any of the following:

(1) act as a leader in, or hold an office in, a political organization;

(2) make speeches on behalf of a political organization or another candidate for public office;

(3) publicly endorse or oppose another candidate for any public office;

(4) solicit funds for or pay an assessment to a political organization or candidate, make contributions to any candidate or political organization in excess of the amounts permitted by law, or make total contributions in excess of fifty percent of the cumulative total permitted by law. See, e.g., A.R.S. § 16-905.

(5) actively take part in any political campaign other than his or her own campaign for election, reelection or retention in office;

(6) personally solicit or accept campaign contributions other than through a campaign committee authorized by Rule 4.4;

(7) use or permit the use of campaign contributions for the private benefit of the judge, the candidate, or others, except as provided by law;

(8) use court staff, facilities, or other court resources in a campaign for judicial office;

(9) make any statement that would reasonably be expected to affect the outcome or impair the fairness of a matter pending or impending in any court; or

(10) in connection with cases, controversies, or issues that are likely to come before the court, make pledges, promises, or commitments that are inconsistent with the impartial performance of the adjudicative duties of judicial office.

Comment 7 (page 36) is specific regarding a family member’s political activity or campaign for public office.

7. Although members of the families of judges and judicial candidates are free to engage in their own political activity, including running for public office, there is no “family exception” to the prohibition in paragraph (A)(3) against a judge or candidate publicly endorsing candidates for public office. A judge or judicial candidate must not become involved in, or publicly associated with, a family member’s political activity or campaign for public office. To avoid public misunderstanding, judges and judicial candidates should take and should urge members of their families to take reasonable steps to avoid any implication that the judge or judicial candidate endorses any family member’s candidacy or other political activity.

It hasn’t escaped the notice of political watchers that Brnovich’s first quarter filings show his donations far below what would be expected from one recruited by establishment elites. It was filed in the late hours of the Jan. 31, deadline, no doubt hoping it might escape notice. He dropped $2,000 of the weak total into his own campaign coffers, and nearly $10,000 was donated by his in-laws, the Skibba family. In actual donations from supporters, many state legislative district candidates have far exceeded Brnovich’s statewide fundraising.


AZ “Guns Save Lives” censorship case heard today

December 3, 2013

This morning, Tuesday, Dec. 3, 2013, at 9:30 a.m., the Arizona Court of Appeals is scheduled to hear the case Korwin v. Cotton — a three-year legal battle more often referred to as the ‘Bus Shelter Ads case.’ The First Amendment free speech aspect of this legal matter has brought together two usually divergent groups, the Goldwater Institute and the ACLU/AZ, which filed an Amicus Curiae brief.

Alan Korwin is a widely read author and recognized expert on America’s gun laws. Debbie Cotton is the director of the Phoenix Public Transit Department who claimed the ads didn’t promote a commercial transaction as required by city policy

This decision could have wide-ranging implications for free speech in Arizona, as well as whether advertisers should be limited in what issues they are able to address on city property.

In this FOX 10 News report Korwin explains how his bus bench signs that read “Guns Save Lives,” advertising his company’s website TrainMeAz.com were taken down at 50 Valley sites by the City of Phoenix. Ultimately, the city allowed altered ads stating “Guns Stop Crime.”

Background on this important case, all of the legal documents and the timeline can be seen here on the Goldwater Institute’s website.

The Appellate Court’s Case Information is available here.


AZ Court of Appeals freezes law allowing higher campaign donations

October 17, 2013

The Arizona Court of Appeals, in an apparent deep bow to publicly funded elections, has issued a preliminary injunction, temporality preventing candidates from raising contributions in compliance with the higher donation limits that were put into effect by the passage of House Bill 2593 last session. The new law which increases the amount of money individuals and political committees may contribute to a candidate took effect Sept. 13, 2013.

Last month, Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Mark Brain ruled in favor of the higher limits, denying the Arizona Citizens Clean Elections Commission’s request for a preliminary injunction to bar implementation of more substantial contributions.

The Commission, which oversees the state’s public elections financing scheme, challenged the law allowing for larger contributions, claiming such fundraising violates a constitutional protection for voter-approved laws. Public funding for politicians is underwritten by a 10% surcharge added to all civil penalties and criminal fines, effectively compelling a conservative paying a traffic ticket to provide money for a Democrat’s campaign. Candidates who participate in the public funding must collect a required number of $5 contributions to qualify them for public monies. At this point, these are the candidates who have signed on for the 2014 elections cycle.

The ill-timed preliminary injunction which halts the implementation of the law, throws a wrench into candidates’ fundraising abilities as they head into the 2014 election cycle.

The 2-page court order * signed by Presiding Judge Randall M. Howe, states that it is “preliminarily enjoining Ken Bennett, in his official capacity as Secretary of State, from enforcing or implementing House Bill 2593 pending further order of this court.”

We’ll watch and wait.

* CCEC


Elected Sheriff Arpaio hindered in duties by appointed judge

October 3, 2013

Law enforcement authority constrained as illegal invasion OKed

U.S. District Judge G. Murray Snow has unilaterally approved a plan to install an independent monitor inside the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office to ensure the department is not “racial profiling.” Snow’s 58-page ruling can be read here.

Last May, Snow ruled that Arpaio’s office was engaging in racial profiling aimed at targeting and detaining Hispanics suspected of illegal entry into the United States. Snow was nominated to the federal bench by President George W. Bush.

For additional background on this ongoing attempt by the federal courts to constrain Sheriff Arpaio in the performance of the duties of his office, read our 2011 post, Federal judge ramps it up on Sheriff Arpaio.

As sheriff, Arpaio is the chief law enforcement officer for Maricopa County, overseeing a massive office. He is the longest serving sheriff since statehood, unprecedentedly elected by the citizens to six 4-year terms. Maricopa County ranks fourth among the nation’s counties with a population greater than 23 states. In land area alone, it is greater in size than seven states.  Arizona abuts the sieve-like Mexican border.

Judge Snow’s latest ruling irrationally orders the sheriff’s office to promote an internal policy “that unauthorized presence in the United States is not a crime and does not itself constitute reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that a person has committed or is committing any crime.” His words signal an unmistakable green light to our nation’s invaders — all of them.

Read Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio’s statement regarding Snow’s Melendres v. Arpaio ruling here.


AZ Fed judge rules for illegal invaders, binds law enforcement

September 30, 2013

More absurdity from the federal courts

In a farcical interpretation of the law, U.S. District Judge Robert Broomfield has prohibited Maricopa County from enforcing a state law that permits illegal aliens who paid coyote/transporters to smuggle them into the U.S. to be charged under Arizona’s human smuggling law as criminal co-conspirators.

Broomfield’s 60-page ruling (view here) said Maricopa County’s interpretation of the 2005 state law cannot be enforced by either Sheriff Joe Arpaio or Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery and his office’s prosecutors, since Broomfield  claims it conflicts with federal law — which Broomfield said supersedes Arizona‘s law. Missing from his ruling is the fact that the Obama Department of Justice treats this crime of invasion as a lesser civil issue.

Peter Schey, a lawyer representing the Hispanic activists who brought the legal challenge, was quoted as stating the ruling “will hopefully bring to an end a mean-spirited and short-sighted policy that has severely harmed a large number of immigrants during the past several years in an entirely unconstitutional manner.”

Hispanic advocacy groups deceptively refer to themselves “immigrant rights advocates.”   The Court appointed Schey, President of the liberal Center for Human Rights and Constitutional Law and Carlos Holguin, General Counsel of the group, as lead counsel.

According to news reports, the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office is reviewing Broomfield’s ruling.

Seventy-five percent of the approximately 2,000 foreign nationals charged as co-conspirators in MaricopaCounty were facing counts of conspiring to illegally sneak themselves into the country. The going rate paid to those they conspire with in this criminal activity varies between $2,000 – $6,000 per illegal.

This is not rocket science. By paying to be illegally transported into the United States, these illegal aliens are engaging in advancing criminal activity as co-conspirators.

In 2008, SRAZ reported the Arizona Court of Appeals upheld the conviction of an illegal alien prosecuted as a co-conspirator under the state’s human-smuggling law. The court found that the law’s wording was “clear and unambiguous” — illegals can be convicted for conspiracy to smuggle themselves into the country.

Makes sense to us.


Biden suggests Janet Napolitano for Supreme Court

September 6, 2013

As a liberal cabinet member, Janet Napolitano has been an Obama favorite. She not only toed the far left line, she was among the first to endorse his 2007 candidacy and then showed her dedication by abandoning her post as Arizona governor midterm as she raced to join the new Obama administration.

Arizonans, all too familiar with the notorious veto queen dubbed “J-No” for her outlandishly partisan number of vetoes of Republican-led legislation and out-of-control spending were happy to see her depart our state. She holds the dubious distinction of having vetoed more bills than any other Arizona governor since statehood.

As Secretary of Homeland Security she did nothing to secure our porous border and ably botched whatever she touched, ranging from oil spills, airline security or misinforming on domestic terror threats. Her department was scandal-plagued.  An ardent liberal, she has been a staunch supporter of amnesty for illegals which would enhance Democrat voter registration and bring a swift demise to the GOP. She even labeled returning U.S. military veterans as “Right-wing extremists” posing national security threats. Her inflammatory report titled “Right-wing Extremism: Current Economic and Political Climate Fueling Resurgence in Radicalization and Recruitment“ can be viewed in this post.

Napolitano led the Obama administration’s categorization of the murderous Fort Hood attack in which a Muslim extremist yelling “Allah Akbar” killed 13 people and injured 32 others as “workplace violence.”  She supported putting words such as “Islamist” and “jihadist” off limits. “Global War on Terror” was replaced by the phrase “Global Struggle for Security and Progress.” This was accomplished through the edition of “Terminology to Define Terrorists,” a nine-page, “Official Use Only” memo written in conjunction with Muslim advisers.

It comes as no surprise that VP Joe Biden, angling for an Obama endorsement of his own as he readies for a 2016 race, would suck up to Barack Obama by suggesting Napolitano is just the ticket for a U.S. Supreme Court post. Biden, known as a gaffe machine, outdid himself today, as he called her a “really, really bright lady.”

This is her last day with the administration, leaving to become president of the University of California system. Biden made his foolish comments at her farewell event.


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