A Republican lawmaker has proposed expanding the state’s highest court, a move that could amplify Doug Ducey’s impact on the judiciary long after he's left the Governor’s Office.
Rep. J.D. Mesnard, R-Chandler, cites population growth and the volume of legal cases as motivating his call to increase the number of Arizona Supreme Court justices to seven from five. The state last added justices in 1960.
Governors appoint justices in what is considered among their most important decisions, given jurists' six-year tenures and impact on important issues — including the death penalty and Constitutional questions ranging from education funding to campaign finance. The court issued about 30 decisions and opinions in 2015.
"I think there's merit ... to spreading that power among more people, more minds, and I also think there's something to be said for greater diversity, which you can have when you have seven people as opposed to five," Mesnard said.