Arizona Supreme Court Denies Kari Lake Request, Case Heads for Court of Appeals

Arizona Supreme Court (ASC) Justice John R. Lopez released an order Wednesday evening denying Republican Kari Lake’s request to transfer her election challenge case directly to the ASC. Despite the denial, Lake remains undeterred in her legal battle.

“My court case will be going before the Appeals Court prior to the Arizona Supreme Court because it’s already been scheduled for review. This decision was done without prejudice & I am confident the case will end up in their hands eventually. We’re moving forward,” Lake tweeted.

In his order, Lopez stated that the Court of Appeals entered a scheduling requiring Defendants in this challenge to respond to Lake’s appeal. The court also indicated that the case would be conferenced, with the possibility of oral arguments, on January 24th. Because the court is already setting things in motion, Lopez stated that no “good cause appears to transfer the matter to this Court” and denied the Plaintiff’s petition.

The order did not rule on the merits of Lake’s appeal, and the denial does not make any statement on the facts she is presenting. The Court of Appeals gave Gov. Katie Hobbs (D) and Maricopa County until Wednesday, January 11th, to respond to the appeal.

In Arizona, when an appeal is filed in a case after being dismissed by a trial court, the Court of Appeals has three options. While there is no trial, a three-judge panel receives written arguments from both parties explaining why the order from the lower court should or should not be overturned. An opportunity for oral arguments is also given. By a majority vote, the judges either affirm the trial court’s decision, reverse it, or remand the case back to the court for further action or a new trial.

Furthermore, a party can file a petition for review to the ASC. Review from the ASC is discretionary, but if accepted, the justices will examine the case and hear oral arguments from the attorneys involved in the appeal. During the arguments, the justices will question both parties about the issues at hand. After arguments are presented, the justices meet in private and decide the case’s resolution by a majority vote, giving one of the same three answers as the Court of Appeals.

The Lake campaign said that prayer is needed as this case moves forward.

“Everyone knows the Election in Arizona was a disaster. Everyone with a conscience knows that it cannot be allowed to stand. Arizona is on a precipice. And it’s praying for a few brave judges to do the right thing and help pull us back,” the campaign tweeted.

As reported by The Sun Times, Lake initially appealed her dismissal from the Maricopa County Superior Court in late December. She requested the court reconsider all ten of the counts in her initial complaint, only two of which were heard in trial.

Then, on December 30th, Lake’s attorney, Bryan Blehm, submitted a Petition for Special Action with the Court of Appeals, asking for the trial court’s judgment to be reversed and grant a request for a new election. On the 31st, Blehm submitted the Petition for Transfer to the ASC. He argued that because Hobbs was going to be sworn into office with election questions still looming, this case needed the court’s speedy resolution.

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Neil Jones is a reporter for The Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Neil on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “Kari Lake by Gage Skidmore CC2.0 and “The Arizona Court of Appeals” is by The Arizona Court of Appeals.


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