by David Safier
E.J. Montini nails this one in The Republic. According to Brewer, Colleen Mathis' "gross misconduct" was violating the open meetings law. Even if it's true, misdeeds of that sort are usually treated like traffic violations, but never mind.
Montini lays out chapter and verse about how the Republican state senators violated open meetings law to oust Mathis for -- yup -- violating open meetings law.
Republicans control the state Senate to such a degree that they don't need Democrats. So before they decided to hold a special session to nix Mathis, they spent time scurrying between offices at the state Capitol making sure they had enough votes to dump her.
When they were sure they could do the deed, a special session was called by Secretary of State Ken Bennett, serving as acting governor while Brewer was out of town, and within a short time Mathis was gone.
Barr points to a 1983 opinion by then-Attorney General Bob Corbin (a staunch Republican, in case you're wondering) who wrote, in part, that "matters of party policy cannot be used to reach a 'collective decision, commitment, or promise' by members of the caucus, when the membership constitutes a quorum of the public body."
In Arizona, Republicans don't simply have a quorum but a two-thirds majority.
Corbin added, "A public body may not use the political caucus as a means of taking legal action in secret. If the public body were to develop a pattern of conduct demonstrating that decision-making had been made in secret, that conduct would violate the Open Meetings Law and subject those responsible to penalty."