Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery is one of 13 people who applied to fill an upcoming vacancy on the Arizona Supreme Court.
The Supreme Court seat that will become vacant on March 1 currently belongs to Justice John Pelander, who announced in December his plans to retire. The vacancy means Ducey gets to appoint his fourth justice to the court after appointing Bolick in early 2016 and justices Andrew Gould and John Lopez IV when the court expanded from five to seven justices in later that year.
When asked in December if he would be vying for the U.S. Senate seat that was eventually filled by Martha McSally, Montgomery said that his current position “is where God wants me to be.” The claim came after Phoenix New Times reported that Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick had texted Gov. Doug Ducey a recommendation of Montgomery to the U.S. Senate, even before Sen. Jon Kyl was appointed as a placeholder.
Arizona Capitol Times previously reported Chief Justice Scott Bales, whose five-year term as chief justice expires in June, is contemplating retiring as well. That would give Ducey the chance to appoint a fifth justice.
Twelve others also applied for the vacancy. They are:
Paul V. Avelar of the Institute for Justice
James P. Beene, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division I
Sean E. Brearcliffe, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division II
Kent E. Cattani, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division I
Maria Elena Cruz, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division I
David J. Euchner of the Pima County Public Defender’s Office
Richard E. Gordon, a Pima County Superior Court Judge
Randall M. Howe, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division I
Andrew M. Jacobs of Snell & Wilmer, LLP
Regina L. Nassen of the Pima County Attorney’s Office
Jennifer M. Perkins, an Arizona Court of Appeals Judge – Division I
Timothy M. Wright, a Gila County Superior Court Judge
The Commission on Appellate Court Appointments will review the applications and take comments from the public at a meeting on February 6. The commission must send at least three names to Ducey, no more than two-thirds of which can come from the same political party. The governor ultimately picks the next justice.