Home v. Rothschild (7/1/2011)

July 7, 2011

Arizona Supreme Court Holds That An Attorney May Serve as a City Mayor.

Marshall Home brought an action to disqualify Jonathan Rothschild as a Democratic candidate for mayor of the City of Tucson.  The superior court dismissed Home’s complaint.  The Arizona Supreme Court had jurisdiction over Home’s appeal under Article VI, section 5(3) of the Arizona Constitution and A.R.S. § 16-351(A).  Home’s sole argument on appeal was that Rothschild, an attorney, is ineligible to serve as mayor because he is a member of the State Bar of Arizona and, therefore, an automatic member of the judiciary disqualified from non-judicial office by the separation of powers doctrine. 

The Supreme Court held that although the practice of law is vested within the authority of the judiciary and lawyers are officers of the court responsible to it for professional misconduct, being subject to the Court’s authority does not invest an attorney with judicial power.  The Court held that because Rothschild is not a member of the judiciary, he does not exercise judicial power and is not barred from holding office outside of the judiciary.  After determining that Home’s appeal was frivolous, the Court awarded attorneys’ fees and costs to Rothschild. 

Justices Berch, Hurwitz, and Brutinel authored the per curiam opinion.