ACLU thugs stage rowdy street protest against stellar AZ Supreme Court applicant
Today the state Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will interview nine applicants vying to fill a vacancy on the Arizona Supreme Court brought about by the retirement of Justice Scott Bales
Filling judicial vacancies on the participating trial courts, both divisions of the Court of Appeals and the Supreme Court is usually a dignified, orderly procedure, following constitutional guidelines. The 16-member commissions include both public and attorney members, representing various political parties and on the appellate level, diverse counties. They vet the applicants and select those they will interview. Following the interviews, commissions are constitutionally mandated to send a list of not more than two-thirds of one political party to the governor who makes the final selection.
Among the current supreme court applicants (read their applications), Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a West Point graduate and military officer has a background that, to most observers, would appear stellar. This is not intended to diminish other applicants, but to point to his prominence bringing out the rowdy protesters. The left-wing Arizona Republic newspaper described the repeatedly elected Montgomery as a “controversial Republican leader,” conveniently omitting how he excelled despite family adversity, graduated law school with high honors and rose to lead an esteemed prosecutor’s office with over 1,000 employees, managing a budget of approximately $100 million, while contributing time to community activities and raising a family.
He was recently the subject of a raucous ACLU-led mob of thugs assembled outside his office, yelling, “Block Bill! Block Bill!,” taking him to task for his views which are far more mainstream than theirs. A similar sized crowd of admirers held signs stating their support. Montgomery ably addresses his publicly stated views on issues that affect Arizonans on Question Number 29 of his application:
Describe any additional professional experience you would like to bring to the Commission’s attention: As a publicly elected official, I have had to ensure that the political dimensions of the Office never interfere with the obligation to seek justice in all the matters that Arizona law requires me to address. While I may engage in debate over various public policy matters that intersect with the duties and responsibilities of the office I serve in, I have never let politics affect the decisions I have to make. First and foremost in my mind is the constant realization that I have to set an example for the men and women of the Office. If I am to expect civil attorneys and prosecutors to base their decisions on objective information and argue from facts, then I must do the same. The approach to deciding cases of statewide impact for a Supreme Court Justice reflects a similar reality. While controversy may swirl about a pending case, the members of the Court must stay focused on the matter before them and on the facts and the law to be applied. Additionally, I have experienced the necessity for ignoring the political rhetoric that often flows from advocating for a position different than that of various special interest groups, whether it involves criminal justice policy or ballot initiatives. I have the practical experience of not letting political differences interfere with my obligation to work with fellow county officials or with fellow criminal justice system stakeholders in Maricopa County, independent of political affiliation or their side of an issue. While high volume criticism, regardless of the justification or lack thereof, may be a part of the political dimension of the job, I have never let it define how I work to maintain the public’s confidence in our civil, criminal, and juvenile justice systems. This understanding of the nature of my position and the work I have engaged in over the last eight plus years gives me a greater sensitivity for the apolitical nature of the judiciary and the fact that the public policy matters I have engaged in are for the Executive and Legislative branches. In order to uphold the integrity and impartiality of the judiciary and to serve honorably as an Arizona Supreme Court Justice, I recognize I must forego all such activity and I actually look forward to pursuing a new challenge in doing so.
Arizonans would be well represented having a man of Montgomery’s background and caliber selected for the high court. Caving to the loudest, contrived voices is not a recipe for excellence. Thuggery should not be a factor in deciding who sits on Arizona’s Supreme Court.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was on the list of seven applicants sent to Gov. Doug Ducey, following a 10-2 vote. Chief Justice Robert Brutinel, who chaired the commission, chose to abstain from balloting. The other finalists are:
Sean Brearcliffe, (Republican) an AZ Court of Appeals judge.
Kent Cattani, (Republican) an AZ Court of Appeals judge.
Maria Elena Cruz, (Democrat) an AZ Court of Appeals judge.
David Euchner, (Libertarian) a Pima County Public Defender.
Randall Howe, (Republican) an AZ Court of Appeals judge.
Andrew Jacobs, (Democrat) a partner at Snell & Wilmer law firm.