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Why Az high court let Pearce recall proceed

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Why Az high court let Pearce recall proceed

  • State Senate President Russell Pearce was recalled last week.
    Gage Skidmore/FlickrState Senate President Russell Pearce was recalled last week.

Arizona's state Supreme Court released a ruling Monday, explaining why it let the recall election of now-ex Sen. Russell Pearce move forward.

The justices explained that "this Court has interpreted constitutional and statutory provisions governing recall liberally to protect the public’s right to recall its officials," given the legislative history of the recall provision.

The court shot down a suit to stop the recall election, dismissing claims that the petition-gathering process was flawed.

"The delegates to the Constitutional Convention of 1910 were willing to risk statehood over a robust recall system that subjected every official to removal.... Adopting a standard that makes it more difficult for the public to remove its own officers would frustrate this historical intent. Seeing no reason to abandon 86 years of precedent and 100 years of commitment to popular recall" the court upheld a precedent that petitions must "substantially comply" with the legal standards.

The court further held that recall petitions need not lay out specific legal grounds for removing an officer.

"Voters may attempt to remove an officer for whatever reasons they choose," the decision said.

Pearce was removed from office last week, when voter in his Mesa district cast their ballots for conservative Republican Jerry Lewis by a margin of 12 percent.

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