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State of Arizona

History of Reform Efforts: Arizona

Formal Changes Since Inception

1912
Supreme court justices elected by the people to six-year terms. Superior court judges elected by the people to four-year terms.

1960
The modern courts amendment increased the size of the supreme court from three to five justices, authorized creation of the court of appeals, and established a mandatory retirement age of 70.

1965
Legislature created the court of appeals. Judges elected by the people to six-year terms.

1974
Through Proposition 108, merit selection was established for the supreme court, court of appeals, and superior court in counties with 150,000 or more people. The League of Women Voters, the Arizona Jaycees, the Arizona Judges' Association, and the State Bar of Arizona were instrumental in getting the initiative on the ballot.

1992
Proposition 109 approved by 58% of voters. Proposition 109 called for the establishment of a formal judicial performance evaluation process, created public committees to screen and recommend candidates for appointment to the state's judicial nominating committees, increased the number of lawyer and nonlawyer members of the nominating commissions, required that the diversity of the state's population be a consideration in selecting commission members and nominating judicial candidates, and raised the county population cutoff for merit selection and retention from 150,000 to 250,000.