Timmer, the chief judge of the Arizona Court of Appeals, has been on the court 10 years and this is her third time as a finalist for Supreme Court justice.
She earned her legal stripes, however, doing a wide variety of cases ranging from complex commercial litigation, employment discrimination, capital cases and even as a special prosecutor.
“That background gives me a solid foundation for knowing what really goes on in our courts,” Timmer said.
She took such a wide range of cases because she said it would better prepare her for her goal as an appellate judge.
Timmer was brought up in the South, but she moved often since her father was a reporter with The Associated Press. Her sister, Laurie Roberts, is a columnist with The Arizona Republic.
The family settled here when she was 14 and her father became the AP bureau chief for Arizona.
She was determined to stay in the state and eventually graduated from Arizona State University College of Law.
Timmer, 49, has taken a special interest in the benefits, education and health care for the disabled since one of her daughters was born with profound hearing loss and brain damage.
“Although one can study the laws related to these issues, a completely different perspective is gained when your child is the one who needs the available services,” Timmer wrote in her application.
Her youngest daughter was also diagnosed with cancer at nine weeks, a “nightmarish” experience, but she has been in remission for more than 16 years.
Gov. Jane Hull appointed Timmer to the Court of Appeals in 2000.
She said she understands that judges are given an incredible amount of power and they can have a profound effect on the lives of people and public policy, so they have to treat it with great responsibility.
One of those responsibilities, she said, is to decide cases on the law and to put aside any concern about making an unpopular decision or the individual pain it may cause the judge herself.
Timmer recounted how she lost friendships when she and two other judges on her panel decided that a statute outlawing gay marriage was constitutional.
She has since repaired the relationships, but one of the friends was a bridesmaid in her wedding and a colleague, who sent her a mean-spirited note and refused to speak to her for a year.
“There are painful cases out there that you have to have people willing to make the decision no matter how unpopular it may be,” Timmer said.
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