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Supreme Court grants Brewer's request, schedules oral arguments

The Arizona Supreme Court has granted Brewer's request for expedited consideration and has scheduled oral arguments in the case for 10 a.m. June 23.

The Legislature has until 5 p.m. on June 19 to respond to Brewer's filing, and the Governor's Office has until June 22 to reply.

The court will decide on June 23 whether to accept jurisdiction in the case, as well as the merits of the special action Brewer requested.

Brewer initially threatened to file suit against the Legislature on June 15 after Senate President Bob Burns walked out on budget negotiations the previous night. Burns said his walkout did not signal the termination of discussions, but Brewer interpreted it as such. House Speaker Kirk Adams, who continued negotiation with Brewer the night of June 14 after Burns had left, said he did not view the Senate president's actions as an end to the discussions either.

The governor said she sent a letter to Burns and Adams, inviting them back to the negotiating table on June 16. Brewer spokesman Paul Senseman said they did meet later in the day and that negotiations are ongoing.

In her filing with the Arizona Supreme Court, Brewer argued that the Legislature is violating several provisions of the Arizona Constitution, including Article 4, Section 2, Part 12, which states that "every measure when finally passed shall be presented to the governor for his approval or disapproval," though it does not specify a time frame in which the bills must be transmitted.

Brewer argued that the Legislature's actions constitute a violation of the separation of powers as described in Article 3 of the Constitution. By withholding the budget bills while legislative leadership negotiates with the governor, the filing states, the Legislature is interfering with the duties of the executive branch. Lawmakers "clearly intended to enhance their control over the lawmaking process and to deprive the governor of the ability to exercise her constitutional role in that same process," the filing read.

"The constitution says that they must present the budget to the governor. The governor participates in the process. The fact of the matter is judicially, and I believe the constitution says, in a reasonable time. I believe today, 14 days later, has been a reasonable time," Brewer said at her press conference. "I cannot allow the Legislature to usurp the power of the executive branch of government."

Brewer also argued that the Legislature's actions violate the principles of open and accountable government by making it more difficult for Arizona residents to determine the "location and status" of the budget bills in the legislative process.

Burns and Adams have said they believe the courts have no jurisdiction in negotiations between the executive and legislative branches of government. Adams also said Brewer's action only serves to delay the budget process, although he is still hoping to get a budget signed by the end of the fiscal deadline.

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