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Law professor participates in Arizona Town Hall

January 12, 2010

Paul Bender, professor and dean emeritus at the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law, recently participated in an Arizona Town Hall meeting titled "Riding the Fiscal Roller Coaster: Government Revenue in Arizona," and was quoted in a report on the event titled, "Arizona Town Hall Calls for Bold Action to Solve the State's Fiscal Crisis," at Knowledge@W.P.Carey.

About 140 of Arizona's leaders gathered in November at the Grand Canyon for the 95th Arizona Town Hall in meetings designed to bring Arizonans together for three days of discussion, culminating in a plenary session where participants adopt a final report of findings and recommendations.

"The topic, governmental revenue, is urgent in a state where a crippling budget crisis casts a forbidding shadow over the next several years," stated the Nov. 10, 2009 article. "Despite a constitutional requirement that the legislature balance the budget, for example, the state carried over a deficit of $400 million into the current fiscal year."

"The balanced budget requirement has no teeth," Bender said.

One participant proposed a constitutional convention, but there was some question as to whether a constitutional convention would open up a Pandora's box – subjecting every area of Arizona law to debate and potential change.

Bender said that it would be feasible to limit a convention to certain subjects – issues that relate specifically to revenue, for example.

Voters would have input at two points in the process, Bender said. "First, the public would vote on the questions, 'Should we have a constitutional convention? What will the rules be?' Second, the public would vote on the constitutional changes proposed by the convention."

Read the article 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.

Judy Nichols,
(480) 727-7895
Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law