The Arizona Legislature is considering two bills to dismantle the State Bar of Arizona.
Senate Bill (SB) 1435, sponsored by State Representative Justine Wadsack (R-Tucson) and passed the Senate 16-13 on February 27, would make the Bar voluntary and move the licensing and regulation of attorneys back under the Arizona Supreme Court. Currently, lawyers cannot practice law in Arizona unless they are a member of the Bar. While Arizona is a right-to-work state, lawsuits attempting to stop it from acting like a mandatory union have failed due to judges ruling against them. More than half of the states have mandatory bars; the rest are voluntary.
The judge in Kari Lake’s election challenge lawsuit declined to award sanctions against her attorneys, although he did order her team to pay the costs of the government defendants. However, in a lawsuit Lake filed earlier this year with Mark Finchem contesting the use of electronic voting machine readers, U.S District Judge John Tuchi, who was appointed to the bench by President Barack Obama, sanctioned her attorneys.
That lawsuit was filed in April and Tuchi dismissed it in August. Maricopa County asked for sanctions on the grounds that attorneys brought claims to court that were “demonstrably false,” citing “vague” allegations that machine counting can produce inaccurate results. Tuchi said the attorneys acted “recklessly” and in “bad faith.” He ordered Lake and Finchem’s lawyers to pay Maricopa County’s attorneys fees. He warned others considering similar lawsuits, “It is to penalize specific attorney conduct with the broader goal of deterring similarly baseless filings initiated by anyone, whether an attorney or not.”