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Junior judges drafted to decide Arizona judicial retirement issue

PHOENIX — Some of the state’s most junior judges will be deciding a
pocketbook issue involving their more senior colleagues.

Arizona Chief Justice Scott Bales has appointed five Superior Court and Court
of Appeals judges who took office since late 2011 to consider a lawsuit
challenging the constitutionality of contribution and benefits changes that the
Legislature made to the judicial retirement system earlier that year.

All five Supreme Court justices excused themselves from considering an appeal
of a lower court ruling. The justices all joined the judicial retirement system
before the changes took effect.

Most current Arizona judges have a stake in the class-action case, but the five
judges who will consider the appeal before the Supreme Court hadn’t become
judges and joined the retirement plan before the changes took effect.