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Ducey finishing interviews for Supreme Court vacancy

By: - August 29, 2019 12:11 pm

Photo by Jerod MacDonald-Evoy | Arizona Mirror

Gov. Doug Ducey said he plans to finish interviewing candidates for the Arizona Supreme Court on Thursday, and that he’ll appoint a new justice “sometime soon thereafter.”

The current appointment process, to replace former Chief Justice Scott Bales, has attracted more attention and scrutiny than usual due to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery’s candidacy for the position. The polarizing county attorney is one of seven candidates, and one of four Republicans, the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments selected as finalists for the job. 

Three of the seven candidates – Republican Kent Cattani and Democrats Maria Elena Cruz and Andrew Jacobs – were finalists for another vacancy earlier this year following Justice John Pelander’s retirement. Though Ducey already interviewed those three earlier this year, he said had met with them again regarding the current vacancy.

“Whether they had an interview in the past or not, I’ve re-interviewed them. I want this to be as fresh in my mind as possible,” the governor told reporters Thursday morning.

Montgomery was a candidate for a different vacancy earlier in the year, but didn’t make the commission’s short list. Ducey ultimately appointed James Beene to fill the seat vacated by Justice John Pelander. Ducey has since replaced several commissioners who voted against Montgomery’s candidate for the previous vacancy. 

Republicans Sean Brearcliffe and Randall Howe, and Libertarian David Euchner are also candidates for the seat. 

By law, Ducey has 60 days from the date the commission selects its finalists to appoint a new justice. That date falls on Sept. 24.

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Jeremy Duda
Jeremy Duda

Jeremy Duda is a Phoenix native and began his career in journalism in 2003 after graduating from the University of Arizona. Jeremy Duda previously served as the Mirror's associate Editor. Prior to joining the Arizona Mirror, he worked at the Arizona Capitol Times, where he spent eight years covering the Governor's Office and two years as editor of the Yellow Sheet Report. Before that, he wrote for the Hobbs News-Sun of Hobbs, NM, and the Daily Herald of Provo, Utah. Jeremy is also the author of the history book “If This Be Treason: the American Rogues and Rebels Who Walked the Line Between Dissent and Betrayal.”