Justices retain seats despite unprecedented attack by Prop. 207 proponents

Arizonans voted to retain Justice Clint Bolick and Justice John Pelander on the Arizona Supreme Court despite an unprecedented attempt by the proponents of Prop. 207 to remove them from the bench.

Justice Bolick earned more than 877,000 votes (71.07 percent) and Justice Pelander earned more than 879,000 votes (72.98 percent) to retain their seats on the bench.

“Voters made the right choice in voting to retain Justices Bolick and Pelander,” Arizona Chamber spokesperson Garrick Taylor said. “Not only did they deserve to be retained, but it sends a strong message to any special interests who would attempt to degrade our retention system or inject hyper-partisanship into an independent judiciary.”

The Arizona Supreme Court ordered Proposition 207, commonly known as the Invest in Education Act, to be removed from the ballot in Molera v. Reagan. Justice Bolick and Justice Pelander voted in the majority. The court ruled the proposition failed to accurately describe to voters what the measure would do in its 100-word petition description.

The majority wrote, “The omission of the change in tax indexing paired with the confusing language about the magnitude of tax increases makes it clear that petition signers were not adequately informed about what they were signing, as the requisite description failed to provide adequate notice of the measure’s principal provisions as required by § 19-102(A).”

In response to the summary Supreme Court ruling released in August, Invest in Ed supporters launched a campaign against two Supreme Court justices without knowing how the individual justices came down on the ruling, a move considered by many as unprecedented in a state that has never voted not to retain a Supreme Court justice.

Justice Bolick has served on the Arizona Supreme Court since January 2016 and Justice Pelander has served on the Arizona Supreme Court since September 2009.

Sierra Ciaramella

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