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Arizona Supreme Court affirms ruling re Quality Education and Jobs Initiative

On August 14, 2012, the Arizona Supreme  Court issued a brief order affirming the lower court decision ordering the Secretary of State to place the Quality Education and Jobs initiative on the ballot.  The Court will issue a full opinion at a later date, but in the order indicated that intiative proponents had substantially complied with the statutory requirements, as Arizona law requires. 

Education

Judge Rules in Favor of Plaintiffs on Education Initiative; Overturns Bennett's Petition Rejection

Following a hearing lasting approximately 20 minutes, Maricopa County Superior Court judge Robert Oberbillig today held that Secretary of State Ken Bennett's decision to reject 290,849 petition signatures to place the Quality Education and Jobs citizens' initiative on the November ballot was unconstitutional.

"I honestly don't know why we need to be here," said Judge Robert Oberbillig during the proceedings.

The case centered on whether the Quality Education and Jobs volunteer-led committee complied with the state Constitution and state law in submitting a record number of petition signatures to the Secretary of State's Office. Bennett rejected the 290,849 signatures on June 25, after making a unilateral decision that a clerical error on a paper document filed with his office invalidated the signatures. Even though his office had accepted an electronic filing with ballot language that matched the language attached to each of the 19,071 petitions submitted, Bennett determined that the electronic filing was not "official."

The campaign legal team, headed by former Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Stanley Feldman, successfully argued that Bennett's decision was not constitutional. The Arizona Constitution requires the Secretary of State to place a measure on the ballot if supporters meet four requirements, all of which were met in this case.

Education

Center files lawsuit to stop Legislature's Raid of Foreclosure Crisis Trust Fund

On May 24, 2012, the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, along with the Morris Institute of Justice, filed a lawsuit in Maricopa County Superior Court seeking to stop the legislature's raid on the Court Ordered Trust Fund established to benefit Arizona homeowners as part of the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement. 

Consumer Rights