Friday, May 6, 2022

AZ Supreme Court Ready To Rule On Gosar/Biggs/Finchem's Places On the November Ballot (READ Briefs)

 A ruling from the Arizona Supreme Court on whether longtime Congressmen Andy Biggs and Paul Gosar can run for re-election this November could come as early as this afternoon. The consolidated expedited election appeal also includes State Rep. Mark Finchem, who is running for Arizona Secretary of State.

The three are accused of being not qualified to hold office because of their participation in planning the January 6 (2021) insurrection at the U.S. Capitol. Challengers claim that the three are subject to the Disqualification Clause in the 14th Amendment.

Superior Court Judge Christopher Coury dismissed the combined case, and the group called Free Speech For People appealed.

Below are the briefs filed by the parties.

The challengers are arguing that Arizona's election challenge statute gives citizens (electors) the power to file a lawsuit to challenge a candidate if they do not meet the qualifications to hold the office. (A.R.S. 16-351) Dismissing the case in this instance is a "radical exception" that "swallows the rule".

"For example, a 16-year-old non-citizen could file nominating papers for the next election, secure a spot as a candidate for the United States House of Representatives, and remain immune from any § 16-351 challenge based on their constitutional ineligibility under Article I, Section 2. See Harisiades v. Shaughnessy, 342 U.S. 580, 587 n.10 (1952) (noting that Article I, Section 2 imposes requirements on congressional “candidates”). This is well within the realm of possibility in Arizona, where a Libertarian Party candidate for the House of Representatives only needs to gather an average of 826 signatures to appear on the primary election ballot—smaller than a graduating class at a large Arizona high school."

The statute requires that the Supreme Court rule on the appeal "promptly", and the court generally issues a decision shortly after the briefs are filed, and follows with their Opinion (legal analysis) months later. 


This article was reported by AZ Law founder Paul Weich. Paul is currently running for a seat in Arizona's House of Representatives.

"AZ Law" includes articles, commentaries and updates about opinions from the Arizona Supreme Court, U.S. Supreme Court, as well as trial and appellate courts, etc. AZ Law is founded by Phoenix attorney Paul Weich, and joins Arizona's Politics on the internet. 

AZ Law airs on non-profit Sun Sounds of Arizona, a statewide reading service that provides audio access to printed material for people who cannot hold or read print material due to a disability. If you know someone who could benefit from this 24/7 service, please let them know about member-supported Sun Sounds. And, YOU can donate or listen here. 

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