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The author of this blog has moved his efforts over to a new group blog. Please visit The Arizona Growler.

O'Hara Factor
Monday, February 27, 2006

Personal findings from today's SC hearings

Who are staff?

First off, it turns out that Rhonda Tubbs wasn't being completely open about who actually posted that AIM profile. It would be a freedom of speech issue as Tubbs claims if the individual was just a random friend, when in fact it was presidential candidate Matt Van Horn. From what I heard at the meeting, this brings up the issue of how one defines staff.

Elections commissioner Jordan Miller defined staff as "anybody who is involved with the logistics of the campaign [not verbatim]" followed by relatively broad examples. Tubbs claimed that there is only one "true member" of her staff: her campaign manager who is officially listed. Miller notes that Van Horn was "very involved" with Tubbs' campaign and therefore is a member of her staff.

Discretion of interpretation

Miller noted that Elections Code section 9-1.05 states that "The Elections Commissioner shall issue the final interpretation of this document unless the decision is appealed pursuant to 10-1.01." Section 10-1.01, Supreme Court appeal, is exactly what came next, so I really don't think this is a legally-feasible argument.

Legality of disqualification on an election day

Elections Code section 8-8.01, entitled "VlOLATlON OF CAMPAIGN CONDUCT (5-1.) ON THE DAYS OF THE ELECTIONS" states "Any candidate who commits any gross and/or negligent violation (gross and negligent are defined in Chapter 11- Glossary) campaign rules shall be subject to the impeachment powers of the ASUA Senate pursuant to Article Vlll of the ASUA Constitution if elected."

First off, this doesn't say that the elections commissioner can't take action on something just because it's election day. Secondly, the spirit of the rule certainly is intended for general elections because Tubbs isn't subject to the Senate's impeachment powers as a candidate.

Tubbs' argument seemed to state that because Miller was supposed to let the Senate take care of this that the Elections Commission was beyond its purview in disqualifying her on the final day of primary elections. It doesn't sound like this is going to fly.

Arizona Revised Statues 38-431.01 (Open Meetings)

The hearing was held in room 122 of the law school: a seminar room. Only the parties, attorneys, justices, ASUA advisors, and members of the Wildcat were allowed in. I was deemed a member of the public and joined between 20-25 people outside the open door listening to what was going on. Thus, by no means is this account complete. It certainly says something about prior planning, as this day has been potentially coming for some time now.

ASUA Constitution section II.2 states "All Senate Meetings shall comply with Arizona Revised Statutes, herein ARS, 38-431.01, regarding open meetings." Numerous parts of the Bylaws require meetings to be "open to the public."

I found nothing specific about the Supreme Court other than Elections Code section 10-1.04: "The Supreme Court shall conduct formal procedures, referring to the Arizona Revised Statutes and the State and Federal Constitutions for all matters not specifically provided for in this Election Code or the ASUA Constitution. A copy of the Arizona Revised Statutes will be available at all times in the ASUA Elections cubicle."

So if this sticks the Supreme Court within the bounds of ARS 38-431.01, guess what happens: "All legal action transacted by any public body during a meeting held in violation of any provision of this article is null and void..." (ARS 38-431.05.A)

More later...


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