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Brnovich asks Arizona Supreme Court to review tuition lawsuit rejection

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX – Despite multiple courtroom setbacks, Arizona Attorney General Mark Brnovich isn’t ready to let his lawsuit over tuition rates at the state’s three public universities die.

On Wednesday, Brnovich petitioned the Arizona Supreme Court to review his claim against the Arizona Board of Regents, which governs Arizona State University, the University of Arizona and Northern Arizona University.

For two years, Brnovich has been attempting to show that the schools’ tuition was so expensive that it violated the section of the Arizona Constitution that says state educational institutions “shall be as nearly free as possible.”

“It’s a compelling case that could positively impact the lives of so many Arizonans,” Brnovich said in a press release.

“I hope the Arizona Supreme Court will confirm that the merits of this case should be heard.”

According to the release, mandatory fees at the three colleges have increased by more than 300% since 2003.

The lawsuit was first filed in September 2017. It was tossed by a Maricopa County Superior Court judge in April 2018, a rejection upheld by the Arizona Court of Appeals last month.

In making the initial ruling, a Judge Connie Contes ruled that the attorney general had no legal authority to sue the board about tuition.

While the appeals court upheld the decision, the three-judge panel noted that the Arizona Supreme Court case on which they based their decision may have been wrongly decided, and only the high court can reverse itself.

Brnovich wants the Supreme Court to clarify the ruling on the 1960 case cited as a reason for his lawsuit to be thrown out.

The attorney general has another action against ABOR regarding a Tempe hotel deal, although part of that suit already has been dismissed.

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