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Thursday, January 7, 2016

Institute for Justice Co-founder Appointed to AZ Supreme Court

A surprising and welcome development

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced the appointment of Clint Bolick to the Arizona Supreme Court. The appointment is notable in several respects. This is Ducey’s first Supreme Court appointment. In selecting Bolick, Ducey also went outside party ranks. (Ducey is a Republican; Bolick is an independent.)

The most notable thing about this appointment is Bolick’s extensive background in libertarian public interest litigation and advocacy of greater judicial protection of property rights and economic liberty. Among other things, Bolick co-founded the Institute for Justice, served as president of theAlliance for School Choice, and (most recently) was vice president for litigation at the Arizona-based Goldwater Institute. Before co-founding IJ, Bolick had worked at the Landmark Legal Foundation, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Justice Department. He is also the author of several books, including “Unfinished Business: A Civil Rights Strategy for America’s Third Century,” “David’s Hammer: The Case for an Activist Judiciary,” and, most recently, “Immigration Wars: Forging an American Solution” (co-authored with Jeb Bush).

As his record makes clear, Bolick is not an advocate of “judicial restraint” or minimalism. In the constellation of right-leaning legal stars, Bolick is much closer to Randy Barnett than to Robert Bork. (He also, incidentally, was close with Justice Clarence Thomas — with whom he worked at the EEOC — and was an outspoken proponent of his confirmation.)

In making the appointment, Ducey praised Bolick as “nationally renowned and respected as a constitutional law scholar and as a champion of liberty.” According to Ducey, Bolick “brings extensive experience and expertise, an unwavering regard for the rule of law and a firm commitment to the state and citizens of Arizona. I’m confident Clint will serve impartially and honorably in this important role.”

Bolick will face an initial retention election in two years, and then every six years thereafter. Justices on the Arizona Supreme Court also must retire at age 70.

Early press coverage of the appointment can be found here, here and here.

Cross-posted from the Volokh Conspiracy.

  • Jonathan H. Adler is the inaugural Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western University School of Law. He teaches teaches constitutional, administrative, and environmental law.