gavel and scales
Hobbs’ Appointee To Commission On Appellate Court Appointments Resigns

March 11, 2024

By Daniel Stefanski |

The Republican-led Senate continues to achieve results in its vetting of appointments from Arizona’s Democrat Governor.

Last month, the Arizona State Senate Republicans announced that Jacob D. Raiford had resigned from his appointment to the Commission on Appellate Court Appointments “just hours before his scheduled confirmation hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee.”

According to Senate Republicans, “while reviewing Mr. Raiford’s background and qualifications in preparation for [the] confirmation hearing, disturbing revelations from his social media activity came to light, showcasing an extreme disdain for conservative public officials and a disrespect for the Senate confirmation process.”

“The Constitution requires these nominees to review judge candidates impartially, and with his public displays on social media, I don’t know how that can be possible,” said Senate Judiciary Chairman Anthony Kern. “It’s unfortunate Hobbs once again irresponsibly appointed someone to a position of power who clearly should not be there. In the absence of her conducting due diligence by vetting these nominees before appointment, the Senate will remain the line of defense in protecting our citizens from radical individuals who prefer to be activists for the left instead of serving all Arizonans.”

The news about Raiford’s resignation follows a year in 2023, when Arizona legislative Republicans took serious umbrage over some of Governor Katie Hobbs’ nominees and appointments to cabinet and other positions. At the beginning of the previous legislative session, Senate President Warren Petersen established a Committee on Director Nominations, which was chaired by Senator Jake Hoffman and purposed to vet Hobbs’ nominees. The Governor was slow to transmit several of her nominees to the Senate, leading to Republicans’ demands that she follow the law and fulfill her prescribed duty.

While Hobbs did eventually send her nominees to the Senate chamber, some did not escape enhanced scrutiny by the Republican lawmakers, who ensured that they did due diligence on the backgrounds, statements, and policies of each of the appointments. Many of the governor’s nominees were confirmed, but some resigned or were withdrawn from consideration after receiving undue attention from the legislators’ investigative efforts.

This process slowly continued until mid-summer 2023, when Governor Hobbs issued executive orders that demonstrated a greater propensity for overreach by her office. Senate Republicans, led by Jake Hoffman and others, shut down all remaining nominations hearings until the governor would reverse course on her actions. Hobbs refused to bring her executive orders in line with the state constitution and intensified the situation at hand by pulling all her remaining nominees from consideration before the Senate, reassigning them as Executive Deputy Directors of their respective agencies. The move from the Democrat governor even forced State Treasurer Kimberly Yee to “not recognize employees from the Arizona Department of Administration or the Arizona Department of Insurance and Financial Institutions as legally participating members” at a regularly scheduled meeting around this time.

At the end of 2023, the Arizona Senate filed a lawsuit in the Maricopa County Superior Court against Hobbs over her refusal “to nominate agency directors, bypassing the Senate’s advice and consent processes.”

Daniel Stefanski is a reporter for AZ Free News. You can send him news tips using this link.

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