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Arizona Supreme Court

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arizona Supreme Court
Seal of the Arizona Supreme Court.png
Seal of the Arizona Supreme Court
LocationPhoenix, Arizona
Composition methodMissouri plan with retention elections
Authorized byArizona Constitution
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term length6 years
Number of positions7
WebsiteOfficial site
Chief Justice
CurrentlyRobert M. Brutinel
SinceJuly 1, 2019

The Arizona Supreme Court is the state supreme court of the U.S. state of Arizona. Sitting in the Supreme Court building in downtown Phoenix, the court consists of a chief justice, a vice chief justice, and five associate justices. Each justice is appointed by the governor of Arizona from a list recommended by a bipartisan commission. Justices stand for retention in an election two years after their appointment and then every six years.[1] They must retire at age 70.

Court history

The court started in 1912 with 3 justices. Alfred Franklin, Donald L. Cunningham, and Henry D. Ross took office on February 14, 1912 (Valentine's Day). In 1949, the Court expanded from 3 to 5 justices and from 5 to 7 justices in 2016.[2][3]

The jurisdiction of the court is prescribed by Article VI, Section 5 of the Arizona Constitution.[4] Most of the appeals heard by the court go through the Arizona Court of Appeals, except for death penalty cases, over which the Arizona Supreme Court has sole appellate jurisdiction. The court also has original jurisdiction in a few other circumstances as outlined in the Arizona Constitution. A quorum is three, but the whole court must sit in order to declare a law unconstitutional.[5]

Selection of justices

Arizona Supreme Court Building in downtown Phoenix.
Arizona Supreme Court Building in downtown Phoenix.

The Chief Justice is chosen for a five-year term by the court, and is eligible for re-election. They supervise the administration of all the inferior courts. They are Chairman of the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments, which nominates candidates to fill vacancies in the appellate courts. If the Governor fails to appoint one of the nominated candidates within sixty days of their names being submitted to her or him, the Chief Justice makes the appointment.

The Vice Chief Justice, who acts as Chief Justice in the latter's "absence or incapacity," is chosen by the court for a term determined by the court.[6]

Justices are selected by a modified form of the Missouri Plan. A bipartisan commission considers applicants and sends a list of nominees to the governor. The governor is required by law to appoint from this list based on merit, without regard to party affiliation. Justices are then retained for an initial period, after which they are subject to a retention election. If the justice wins the election, his/her term is six years.


  • Admitted to the practice of law in Arizona and be a resident of Arizona for the 10 years before taking office;
  • May not practice law while a member of the judiciary;
  • May not hold any other political office or public employment;
  • May not hold office in any political party;
  • May not campaign, except for him/herself; and,
  • Must retire at age 70.[7]


The current Arizona Supreme Court includes:

Justice Born Appointment Mandatory retirement Law school Appointed by
Robert M. Brutinel, Chief Justice (1958-03-18) March 18, 1958 (age 64) November 10, 2010 (as Associate Justice)
July 1, 2019 (as Chief)
2028 Arizona Jan Brewer (R)
Ann Timmer, Vice Chief Justice (1960-09-12) September 12, 1960 (age 61) October 12, 2012 2030 Arizona State Jan Brewer (R)
Clint Bolick (1957-12-26) December 26, 1957 (age 64) January 6, 2016 2027 UC Davis Doug Ducey (R)
John Lopez IV 1968 (age 53–54) December 19, 2016 2038 Arizona State Doug Ducey (R)
James Beene 1965 (age 56–57) April 26, 2019 2035 Arizona Doug Ducey (R)
Bill Montgomery (1967-03-02) March 2, 1967 (age 55) September 6, 2019 2037 Arizona State Doug Ducey (R)
Kathryn Hackett King 1980 (age 41–42) July 8, 2021 2050 Arizona Doug Ducey (R)

Chief Justices

See also


  1. ^ Ariz. Const. Art. VI, § 37.
  2. ^ William O. Douglas, Arizona's New Judicial Article, 2 ARIZ. L. REV. 159 (1960).
  3. ^ "Bill Would Add 2 New Justices To Arizona Supreme Court". KJZZ. February 25, 2016.
  4. ^ Ariz. Const. Art. VI, § 5.
  5. ^ Ariz. Const. Art. VI, § 2.
  6. ^ Ariz. Const. Art. VI, § 3.
  7. ^ "AZ Supreme Court".

External links

This page was last edited on 16 August 2022, at 02:39
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