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Retiring Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Bales to lead research center

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PHOENIX – Retiring Arizona Supreme Court Justice Scott Bales has a new job lined up – leading a research center focused on the American legal system.

Bales will take over as executive director of the Institute for the Advancement of the American Legal System at the University of Denver, the school announced Thursday.

Bales will replace founding director Rebecca Love Kourlis, who will retire in September after 13 years in charge.

His last day on the Arizona bench was set for July 31.

“No other organization plays a similar role in helping our legal system to more effectively afford justice to those it serves,” Bales said in a statement.

The 62-year-old announced Tuesday that he will retire July 31 from the Arizona high court after 14 years, the past five as chief justice.

“It is with great confidence that I will be handing over the gavel at IAALS to Chief Justice Bales,” Kourlis said in the statement.

“He knows us and has worked with us, and more importantly, he shares our vision and will be positioned to lead IAALS into even greater impact across the country and across the legal system.”

Bales, the lone Democrat on the seven-member bench, won’t be the only former Arizona Supreme Court justice at the institute.

Ruth McGregor, who served from 1998 to 2009, also works at the institute.

McGregor, Arizona chief justice from 2005 until retirement, sits on the institute’s board and led the search for Kourlis’ successor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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