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Bender pens op-ed for ‘Arizona Republic’

November 18, 2011

An opinion piece written by Professor and Dean Emeritus Paul Bender, “Ouster of panel chief was abuse of power,” was published by The Arizona Republic on the day of oral arguments before the Arizona Supreme Court challenging Colleen Mathis’ removal from the Independent Redistricting Commission.

“Today, the Arizona Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in a case challenging Gov. Jan Brewer's recent removal of Colleen Mathis, chairwoman of Arizona's Independent Redistricting Commission,” Bender wrote in the “My Turn” column on Nov. 17. “The court's decision will have an important impact on Arizona's political system.”

The article offered insight from the 1935 U.S. Supreme Court Case, Humphrey’s Executor v. U.S., which established the Federal Trade Commission and the difference between executive officers and quasi-legislators, in which the latter may only be removed consistent with constitutional regulations, and executive officers may be removed at the discretion of the legislators they are serving. The language used in the FTC Act is almost identical to Arizona’s removal provision, Bender said.

Bender said he does not believe voters can depend on an independent commission if the governor and state senate can remove officials just because they can get enough votes to do so.

“Courts traditionally do not review the judgments of properly constituted legislative impeachment courts, which include formal charges and, in Arizona, a public trial with the chief justice of the state Supreme Court presiding,” Bender said. “Nothing resembling that kind of careful and fair procedure was a predicate to the removal of Chairwoman Mathis.”

To read the piece, click here.

Bender teaches courses on U.S. and Arizona constitutional law. He has written extensively about constitutional law, intellectual property and Indian law, and is co-author of the two-volume casebook/treatise, Political and Civil Rights in the United States. Bender has argued more than 20 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court and actively participates in constitutional litigation in federal and state courts.