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Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Bales to step down in July

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PHOENIX – Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Scott Bales announced Tuesday he would retire in the summer, after 14 years on the bench.

Bales’ last day was set for July 31. He has served as chief justice for five years.

He is the court’s longest-serving justice. His term as chief justice ends June 30.

In a letter to Gov. Doug Ducey, Bales, the lone Democrat in the group of justices, praised his colleagues for their “commitment to working together and fairly upholding the law.”

Bales was appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano in 2005 and could have served until 2026, but most chief justices retire rather than stay on as associate justice.

His leaving follows the recent retirement of Justice John Pelander, whose last day was March 1.

Pelander said in December that he would be leaving.

Ducey will appointment both replacements from a list of candidates. When those names are selected, the governor will have chosen five of the seven justices during his tenure.

The court expanded from five justices to seven in 2016 at Ducey’s insistence.

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