Statement from ABOR Chair Larry E. Penley on Arizona Supreme Court Decision

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Statement from ABOR Chair Larry E. Penley on Arizona Supreme Court Decision

November 25, 2020

“The Arizona Board of Regents applauds the Arizona Supreme Court’s unanimous decision today to dismiss Attorney General Mark Brnovich’s over-reaching attempt to expand his office’s authority.

“In this ruling, the justices affirmed the wisdom of the Arizona Constitution that clearly and appropriately limits the authority of the Attorney General and ensures a system of checks and balances that preserves the intended scope of his power. The court’s decision is a win for Arizonans who deserve no less than an Attorney General who respects the law and does not overstep the vested authority of the office.

“While this case stems from a tuition lawsuit the Attorney General filed against the board nearly three years ago, it ultimately was about the Attorney General’s demand for unfettered authority to sue whomever he wants whenever he wants – even his own clients. The meritless lawsuit and subsequent legal maneuvers have been a considerable waste of precious time, taxpayer dollars and resources for the board and the state of Arizona.

“The court remanded to the trial court the issue pertaining to resident Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) students paying in-state tuition. That practice was discontinued in 2018 immediately upon the decision of the Arizona Supreme Court.  The board is confident this remaining issue will be resolved in our favor.

“The decision eliminates the distraction created by this lawsuit and will allow the board to devote its full attention to its Constitutional responsibilities, including governance of the universities and facilitating access to higher education for all students in Arizona, within the limits of applicable state and federal law. This is a time that we should all be working together to support students across the educational spectrum including preparing them to seek education past high school.

“As always, the board remains steadfast in its commitment to represent the people of Arizona and ensure access to an affordable, quality higher education that remains within reach of Arizona families.”