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Gov. Doug Ducey announces two appointees to expanded Arizona Supreme Court

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PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey announced Monday that he has made his decision on the judges he will appoint to the expanded Arizona Supreme Court.

In a press release, Ducey said he had selected Judge Andrew W. Gould and Arizona Solicitor General John R. Lopez IV as his appointees.

Gould is a former deputy county attorney who served in both Maricopa and Yuma counties. He was also a judge in Yuma County Superior Court for 10 years.

“He has a strong record as a public servant, private practitioner, trial court judge, and appellate court judge,” Ducey said of Gould. “These experiences make him exceptionally qualified for this position.”

Lopez has a storied career. He worked for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for 12 years and was a legal advisor for six months in Iraq, where he assisted the Iraqi government with the prosecution of former leader Saddam Hussein.

“From serving as solicitor general to advising the prosecution of Saddam Hussein and his top officials in Iraq, John’s extensive legal experience and commitment to justice will make him a valuable asset on the state’s highest court,” Ducey said.

Legislation that added two justices to the state’s Supreme Court was signed in March, despite opposition to the proposal from the high court’s top judge and concerns from critics that the move allows Ducey to “pack” the court.

Ducey said in a signing letter that while he appreciates Chief Justice Scott Bales’ concerns, he believes the court can be more efficient and take more cases with seven justices instead of the current five.

Bales said in a letter urging a veto that the court’s caseload doesn’t merit expansion, especially when the Legislature has underfunded other court priorities.

Ducey also pushed back at critics who said the expansion was designed to allow the Republican governor to “pack” the court with political appointees.

“That’s just wrong,” Ducey wrote. “Arizona’s two new justices will be selected under our state’s nationally-renowned merit selection system, which includes nominations of qualified applicants by the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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