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City of Tucson v. State

273 P.3d 624 (2012)

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City of Tucson v. State

Arizona Supreme Court

273 P.3d 624 (2012)

Facts

The Arizona Constitution included a home-rule provision. Under the provision, a city that adopted its own charter was granted autonomy over matters of local concern. In 1929, the city of Tucson (the city) (plaintiff) adopted its own charter and became a charter city. The city’s charter detailed the procedures for the election of city-council members. City-council members were nominated in ward-based primary elections; that is, they were nominated from particular districts within the city. But city-council members were elected in at-large, or city-wide, general elections. The city-council elections were partisan, which meant that candidates were identified by their party affiliation. In 2009, the Arizona legislature amended Ariz. Rev. Stat. § 9-821.01. As amended, § 9-821.01 barred a city from electing its city council in partisan elections. Section 9-821.01 also barred a city that used a ward-based primary election for council members from using an at-large general election. The city brought suit against the State of Arizona (the state) (defendant), contending that the amendments to § 9-821.01 did not apply to it as a charter city. The superior court granted summary judgment in favor of the state. The city appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Bales, J.)

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