Judging Arizona judges in 2016

Judging by searches coming into this site, Arizona voters are interested in how to ‘judge the judges.” Unfortunately, many of the lists floating around the internet are undependable, using politics as the sole determiner.  We all know how unreliable that can be. The U.S. Supreme Court stands as a stunning example. Ronald Reagan appointed Sandra Day O’Connor, who then reveled in being the swing vote on the court and as often as not, swung left. When George W. Bush named John Roberts as Chief Justice, conservatives cheered. We rued the day when he was the deciding vote in upholding ObamaCare. Such examples stand as stark reminders that there is no simple barometer to gauge those in black robes.

The Judicial Performance Review Commission — composed of members of the public, attorneys and judges — collects information from everyone who has contact with a judge including litigants, witnesses, jurors and lawyers. This data is used to rate key aspects of each judge’s performance including whether they can apply the law fairly, treat people with respect and manage a courtroom efficiently. Information on the process can be accessed here.

The much heralded “Merit Selection of Judges” enacted in 1974 by voters who were fed skewed information, and which is expanding throughout Arizona as county populations increase, is far from flawless.  We prefer the system that works well in the majority of counties, where the judges stand for election, rather than retention — but like putting toothpaste back in the tube, it’s not going to happen.

The following is the list of courts where judges and justices are up for retention. There is a wealth of information available by clicking on the judges‘ names. Then go a step further to read the “Detailed Report.” It takes some time to sift through, but if you want to vote smart, do it. Your specific ballot will indicate which judges are up for retention.

Arizona Supreme Court 

Court of Appeals Division I 
Court of Appeals Division II 
Superior Court in Maricopa County
Superior Court in Pima County
Superior Court in Pinal County


8 Responses to Judging Arizona judges in 2016

  1. Villanova says:

    The state legislature should have put a much higher cap on the population levels that thrust more counties into the farce of “merit selection.” With a 250,000 population cap on elections, watch as Yavapai and Mohave Counties max out and the citizens of those counties lose their right to actually vote for judges. Pinal County maxed out and joined Maricopa and Pima, which were the only counties originally impacted by this unnecessary “fix.” There is nothing non-political about merit selection. and “merit” has very little to do with the selection process.

  2. Seen It All says:

    Thanks for the info and the always dependable honesty. Merit selection was a huge mistake, but we’re stuck with it as it’s now enshrined in the Arizona Constitution. The only beneficiaries of this scheme are the judges, which is why the state bar relentlessly promotes it.

    • Villanova says:

      Merit Selection was a construct of former state bar president Stanley Feldman, a brilliant but liberal partisan. He was later appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court where he eventually was Chief Justice.

  3. Conservative Since Birth says:

    Speaking of judges, Jeff Flake is still out there doing Obama’s work. Why doesn’t he just get the hell out of the Republican party.

    Jeff Flake urges Congress to move on Merrick Garland Supreme Court nomination in lame-duck session – Washington Times


    • azgary says:

      Hillary’s America: The Secret History of the Democratic Party (2016)
      Free, Full Movie, Pass it on!

      • Conservative Since Birth says:

        Thanks AZ Gary. Everyone should see this very informative movie by Dinesh D’Souza. I sent it to my list. (I paid to see this movie and would do it again.)

    • Attila The Hunny says:

      SRAZ did a good job pointing out that the party affiliation of the appointing governor means little in the judicial selection process. The same can be said of many of the applicants themselves, who party switch depending on the governor at the time of their application.. Some appellate level judges were Democrats when they were first appointed to the trial courts and magically became Republicans when they were appointed to the higher courts, since there was a new governor. Liberal Gov.Janet Napolitano who left mid term to work for Barack Obama, rarely appointed Republicans to the bench and would have swallowed broken glass rather than appoint conservatives, put Susan Brnovich on the Maricopa County Superior Court. Judge Brnovich is married to the AZ Attorney General who presents himself as a conservative.How do you square that?

      Also Republican governor Jane Hull’s first appointment was to the AZ Supreme Court. In an unprecedented move, she appointed across party lines when she named her longtime Democrat friend Ruth McGregor to the AZ Supreme Court. They were both married to doctors and knew one another socially and had been school teachers prior to Hull going into politics and McGregor going to law school. Incidentally, McGregor had been a law clerk for Rebublicrat U.S. Supreme Court Sandra O’Connor. Although it seems reliable, we need to beware of using politics as our only yardstick in our state and county courts.

      The U.S. Supreme Court is a different animal altogether. Meanwhile Obama has been filling federal courts across the country and is doing so with the willing senate confirmation votes of our eager to acquiesce Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake. Jon Kyl was previously in on those disastrous votes, also.

  4. Saguaro Sam says:

    Off topic, but. . . .

    I told you previously that this was happening. It’s here and it’s very real.

    After 962 pages of new Medicare regulations were unleashed earlier this year,
    Here is the Nail in Medicare’s Coffin. (Hammer and nail provided by Obama.)


    And with the increase in costs associated with funerals and burials, more and more people are donating their body to medical schools in the U.S. Univ of AZ in Tucson has seen a large increase in the number of bodies donated.