Arizona Governor Doug Ducey (R) appointed appeals judge James Beene to the Arizona Supreme Court on April 26, 2019. Beene became Ducey’s fourth appointment to the seven-member court, and the ninth state supreme court justice appointed by a governor in the country this year.
Beene replaces former Justice John Pelander, who retired on March 1. Pelander was appointed by former Gov. Jan Brewer (R) in 2009. He was retained in elections in both 2012 and 2018.
A selection committee submitted a list of five potential nominees to Ducey the same day that Pelander retired. The committee responsible for interviewing individuals and recommending potential nominees was made up of seven Republicans, three Democrats, and four independents.
Ducey is set to make another appointment to the court this fall. Chief Justice Scott Bales is retiring to take a job in the private sector on July 3. Appointed by former Gov. Janet Napolitano (D) in 2005, Bales is the last remaining member of the court to be appointed by a Democratic governor. His replacement will be Ducey’s fifth appointment to the court.
Arizona is one of 24 states in the country that use assisted appointment as their form of judicial selection for their court of last resort. Sixteen states select judges by nonpartisan election, seven use partisan elections, four have the governor appoint judges directly, and two states (South Carolina and Virginia) have the state legislature elect judges.