The Arizona Supreme Court recently issued two administrative orders involving the Clerk of the Arizona Supreme Court. One appoints a new Clerk; the other updates and modernizes the Clerk’s duties and authority when processing petitions for review and other cases.
Article VI, § 7 of the Arizona Constitution grants the Supreme Court the power to appoint a clerk of court to assist with the administrative duties and overall functioning of the Court. On February 18, 2021, the Arizona Supreme Court appointed Tracie K. Lindeman Clerk of the Arizona Supreme Court effective March 15, 2021. See Admin. Order No. 2021-26 (Feb. 18, 2021). Ms. Lindeman is replacing Janet Johnson, who has served as Clerk of the Arizona Supreme Court for nearly a decade and has served the State of Arizona for over two decades. We thank Ms. Johnson for her dedicated public service and wish her well in her future endeavors!
Next, the Arizona Supreme Court issued an administrative order updating the Clerk’s duties and responsibilities. See Admin. Order No. 2021-31 (Feb. 25, 2021). Notably, the Arizona Supreme Court’s prior administrative order on this topic was nearly 20 years old. See Admin. Order No. 2001-53 (Apr. 25, 2001). Much has changed in the last two decades. Most notably, the Supreme Court has embraced electronic filing, which has impacted the operations of the Clerk’s Office.
The new administrative order generally divides the Clerk’s duties and responsibilities into two categories—permitted actions and authorized orders. As to permitted actions, the new order authorizes the Clerk to take administrative actions to process the cases filed in the Arizona Supreme Court. This involves all of the duties and responsibilities one would expect of the Clerk, including accepting documents for filing, docketing filings, and publishing the Court’s opinions. It also involves assisting with a number of administrative tasks critical to the day-to-day functioning of the Court.
The new administrative order also clarifies which types of orders the Clerk may sign. For example, the Clerk may sign orders granting or denying first and second extensions of time for court filings, including delayed petitions for review. The new order also provides that the Clerk may refer the matter to a duty justice if the Clerk believes the request should be modified or denied. The new order permits the Clerk acting upon the recommendation of a staff attorney to sign an order directing a party to file a response to a petition for review. The Clerk may also sign orders granting or denying requests to exceed page limits on briefs and legal memoranda. And the Clerk may sign orders granting non-substantive uncontested procedural motions relating to the processing of the case; but if the Clerk believes that the motion should be denied, the Clerk may refer the matter to the duty justice.
Consistent with the prior administrative order, the new order confirms that “any party or person dissatisfied with the decision of the clerk may petition the court for relief.”
Practitioners who regularly appear in front of the Arizona Supreme Court should carefully review the new administrative order.
Posted by: Phillip W. Londen