Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
In fact, the Arizona Republic gave the Red Queen's court jester, Joe Kanefield, a "My Turn" guest opinion on Friday to make his convoluted case for why the Red Queen is allowed to run for another term. Kanefield: Constitution clears Brewer to pursue another term.
Without any factual or legal basis for his claim, Kanefield claims that the constitutional term limitations provision enacted by Arizona voters was never intendend to apply to a Secretary of State who has succeeded to the office of governor upon the death or resignation of the governor, an all too frequent occurrence in Arizona.
Fortunately, legal experts who actually know what they are talking about disagree and refute this convoluted theory without any factual or legal support. The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports Experts say Brewer can’t seek third term:
The Constitution limits executive officers, including the governor, to two consecutive four-year terms, including “any part of a term served.” The governor, who was elected to full term in 2010, said she may challenge that provision in court.
But election and constitutional experts say there’s likely no chance she would prevail. And privately, many denizens of the Capitol say they don’t expect Brewer to actually try to run again, with some viewing the idea as a way to avoid being viewed as a lame-duck governor.
Assistant Secretary of State Jim Drake, who served as House rules attorney before joining the Secretary of State’s Office, commented in an email on the term-limits provision in the Arizona Constitution: “In my previous role, I read every single piece of legislation for 10 years and rendered opinions on constitutionality. I can’t find even a scintilla of ambiguity in Article V, §1.”
Attorney Paul Eckstein, who frequently represents the Arizona Democratic Party in election cases, said there’s no chance Brewer is eligible for a third term.
“It’s absolutely ludicrous that she would entertain it and that anybody would seriously argue,” said Eckstein, of the firm Perkins Coie. “This maybe could be achieved on Mars. And I’m not familiar with the Martian legal system. I like to keep an open mind on these things.
I appreciate creative lawyering. But in my mind, it’s beyond the pale.”
* * *
Lee Miller, an elections attorney who serves as counsel for the Arizona Republican Party, said the courts would look at how ‘term’ is defined elsewhere in the Constitution and in statute, and determine if there is a consensus definition. In that context, he said, Brewer served part of a term when she took over for Napolitano.
“Go look at the vacancy-in-office statute, where when a vacancy exists and a successor takes over. How long does that successor serve before they’re required to stand for their own election?” Miller said. “You can always find lawyers who are willing to engage in debate. But I think in front of a judge it would be a mighty challenging question to persuade a judge that Governor Brewer could legally serve beyond January 2015.”
Paul Bender, an Arizona State University professor and an expert on the Arizona Constitution, said the drafters of the 1992 initiative could have adopted the federal model, which allows successors to the presidency to run for re-election a second time if they serve less than half of their predecessor’s term. But the fact that they didn’t is telling, Bender said.
“It seems to me, one of the clear constitutional questions one could find is that she really can’t run again,” Bender said. “It doesn’t seem to me it’s plausible that she can run.”
Elections attorney Tom Ryan said the language of the term-limits provision is crystal clear.
“It may seem unfair. It may seem harsh. But it is what the people of Arizona passed, and when we passed it, it included partial terms,” Ryan said. “The plain language is very clear. It’s very simple to understand.”
* * *
Ryan said Kanefield’s gamesmanship argument was a stretch, and questioned whether such an incident has ever occurred in the United States.
“Nobody ever did that before. But the one thing that the state of Arizona had seen was the succession issue. And they’ve seen that over and over again,” Ryan said.
Election law attorney Kory Langhofer said Kanefield has at least an argument to make. . . But while Langhofer said it would be possible to succeed with that argument, he said it would be highly unlikely.
“My best guess is that the argument would not be accepted,” Langhofer said.
Jaime Molera, an aide to former Gov. Jane Hull, who served a partial term when he succeeded former Gov. Fife Symington in 1997, said there was some talk of Hull exploring the possibility of seeking another term. But Molera said Hull never seriously considered the idea, and he doesn’t think she believed she would be able to run again.
“I personally don’t think it’s viable under the Constitution,” Molera said.
So let's cut the crap from the Red Queen's court jester, Joe Kanefield, and her publicist, Howard Fischer at Capitol Media Services, who are promoting this delusional notion. The Red Queen is a lame duck and will leave office in January 2015.