Arizona Supreme Court decided to take the case.
File supplemental briefs and present oral argument in the Arizona Supreme Court.
Supporters of Medicaid expansion propose to fund Arizona’s share of the massive new program by charging a “provider tax” to hospitals. But they encountered a roadblock: to shield themselves from one of the most widely abused government powers, Arizonans in 1992 overwhelmingly enacted a constitutional requirement that 2/3 of the legislature approve any tax increase. Expansion advocates were unable to garner that level of legislative support. So instead of complying with the constitution, they ceded to an appointed administrator the power to levy taxes, a job the state’s constitution specifically entrusts to the people’s representatives. Even worse, this administrator has full discretion to set the amount of the tax and to decide who has to pay and who will be exempt. Attempting to evade the constitution in this way ensures that the true beneficiaries of Arizona’s Medicaid expansion are not the people, but the politically connected hospitals who lobbied to line their pockets.
Arizona was built on the principles of self-government. To protect the people from an unaccountable bureaucracy, the Arizona Constitution reserves the lawmaking power to elected legislators, whose decisions are subject to review by the other branches. Ignoring restrictions on the taxing power and yielding control to independent officials eviscerates these checks and balances, inviting uncertainty and paving the way for special interest groups to hijack the lawmaking process.
Arizona has a rich history of sheltering its citizens from federal overreach. Unfortunately, some state lawmakers have sacrificed that tradition—and the state constitution—to stick Arizonans with an unconstitutional tax. The Goldwater Institute is representing legislators whose votes against Medicaid expansion should have defeated the bill but were effectively nullified when the expansion bill became law without the constitutionally required 2/3 approval, their constituents who were denied representation when their senators’ and representatives’ votes were not counted, and Arizona taxpayers who have been deprived of the protection of constitutional separation of powers.
Who are the clients?
- State senators and representatives who voted against Medicaid expansion and would have defeated the provider tax under Prop. 108.
Who is the judge?
Motion to Dismiss trial judge: Hon. Katherine Cooper. Motion for Summary Judgment trial judge: Hon. Douglas Gerlach
Response to Defendant's Motion for Summary Judgement (6/5/2015) PLF Amicus Brief (468.6 KB)
Christina Sandefur is Executive Vice President at the Goldwater Institute. She also develops policies and litigates cases advancing healthcare freedom, free enterprise, private property rights, free speech, and taxpayer rights. Christina has won important victories for property rights in Arizona and works nationally to promote the Institute's Private Property Rights Protection Act, a state-level reform that requires government to pay owners when regulations destroy property rights and reduce property values. She is also a co-drafter of the Right to Try initiative, now law in over half of the states, which protects terminally ill patients' right to try safe investigational treatments that have been prescribed by their physician but are not yet FDA approved for market. Christina is the co-author of the book Cornerstone of Liberty: Private Property Rights in 21st Century America (2016). She is a frequent guest on national television and radio programs, including Fox Business's Stossel, Dick Morris, and The Armstrong & Getty Show. Her litigation and policy work has been featured in National Review, The Washington Post, Human Events, The American Spectator, and The Weekly Standard, among others. She has provided expert legal testimony to various legislative committees and is a frequent speaker at conferences. Christina is a graduate of Michigan State University College of Law and Hillsdale College.
Adi Dynar is a research attorney at the Goldwater Institute’s Scharf-Norton Center for Constitutional Litigation. Adi graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law where he had highest ranking in constitutional law and was an Articles Editor for the University of Toledo Law Review. During the law school summers he clerked on the California Court of Appeal and the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Central District of California. Adi was a Ronald Reagan Fellow at the Goldwater Institute for over two years and worked as a part-time law clerk at a law firm in Mesa. Adi earned bachelors and masters degrees in Accounting, Finance, and Economics from Sydenham College, University of Mumbai. He was an accounting and auditing officer at Citigroup Global Services Ltd. in India for over a year before pursuing his legal education in the United States.