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State Capitol News

New AZ Supreme Court judge shifts balance

By Howard Fischer

Phoenix, AZ – Gov. Jan Brewer picked John Pelander, a member of her own
Republican party, to fill the seat being vacated by retiring
Justice Ruth McGregor, a Democrat. Brewer said Pelander is the
kind of judge she wants on the bench.

"He possesses the intellect, the experience and the temperament
to be an outstanding member of our state's highest court," Brewer said. "He
shares my philosophy that judges should strictly interpret the
laws and the constitution and not legislate from the bench."

Brewer's choices were limited. The state constitution requires
her to pick from a list submitted by a special panel which
screens applicants and sends the governor at least three names,
not all of whom can be of the same party. That list this time
included Democrat Diane Johnson, who, like Pelander, is an
appellate court judge. Brewer sidestepped the question of whether
Johnson actually had a chance of being named.

"She had impeccable credentials. She interviewed well. And I
enjoyed meeting her. And I'm sure that, given her history and her
background, that she will probably again arise in other
appointments, either to the Supreme Court or other positions she
would desire to have."

Pelander becomes the 41st high court judge since statehood.