Mistakes are made in the heat of battle. And that is never more true than in lawsuits regarding pending elections (see Bush v. Gore).
That may be the most generous analysis we can make in the latest turn in the battle over a recall election for State Senate President Russell Pearce.
You may recall (get it?) that sufficient petition signatures were gathered to force a recall election of the engineer of the immigration law dubbed SB1070. But a lawsuit was filed immediately by Pearce backers to disallow the signatures, the petitions and the entire election.
Last week, an Arizona court in Maricopa County ruled against the suit, which would allow the recall to proceed. An appeal was expected.
What wasn’t expected was that the Pearce supporters filed the appeal directly to the Arizona Supreme Court. On Tuesday, the Court—ever so kindly—pointed out that the appeal came to the wrong bench.
As Justice Scott Bales wrote:
“The Court has received Appellant’s Rule 8.1 Statement in Expedited Election Matter, filed August 15, 2011. Because pursuant to Rule 8.1(h), Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure (ARCAP), ‘[e]xpedited election appeals involving recalls … shall be filed in the Court of Appeals’ rather than this Court, IT IS ORDERED transferring this matter to the Arizona Court of Appeals, Division One.”
Every lawyer may make an error, Justice Bales seemed to acknowledge. And so he concluded, “IT IS FURTHER ORDERED that Appellant not be charged a second initial filing fee.”
Other coverage of the matter made the event seem like a technicality. As FOX10 News reported:
“The Arizona Supreme Court is sidestepping an appeal of a judge’s ruling to keep a scheduled recall election for state Sen. Russell Pearce on track, but it may be only a temporary move.”
True, I suppose, that all court rules are “technicalities.” But those are technicalities that lawyers live with every day. It’s nice that the Court won’t levy a second fee on the plaintiff when the matter is inevitably filed in the proper court. But given the very public nature of this Court order, I suppose the lawyers involved have already paid enough.
Below you’ll find the two-page order from the Supreme Court.Follow @azatty