In late June, the Arizona Supreme Court delivered what could be considered a draw for Gov. Jan Brewer and Republican legislative leadership, who argued over how long the Legislature can withhold bills from the governor after they have been approved.
The argument was not theoretical; Brewer asked the court on June 15 to hear her argument that the Legislature violated the Arizona Constitution by unnecessarily delaying the transmitting of the 2010 budget it had passed on June 4.
The court ruled in short order, declaring on June 23 that the Legislature, led by Senate President Bob Burns and House Speaker Kirk Adams, had, in fact, violated the Constitution by withholding the budget from the governor.
But in the same stroke, the court did not force the budget’s transmittal, noting Brewer must be given the legislation by the end of the fiscal year anyway.
Now, the Legislature is asking the court to reconsider its order. Represented by attorney David Cantelme, Burns and Adams claim the high court misread the Constitution’s presentment clause to the detriment of the legislative branch.
The clause requires that bills “when finally passed shall be presented” to the sitting governor, but the Republican leadership claims the court erred by determining bills need to be transmitted immediately.
That decision, they say, compromises the Legislature’s ability to reconsider or recall an agreed-upon policy. Minority members’ rights also would be limited because, effectively, they would be barred from persuading members of the majority to help defeat already-passed legislation.