125 bars file lawsuit against Governor Doug Ducey

Posted at 7:56 PM, Aug 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-24 01:42:49-04

PHOENIX, Ariz. — Ilan Wurman is an Associate Professor of Law at Arizona State University.

He said his schedule has taken on another task lately.

"I am representing about 125 bars in a lawsuit against the Governor."

He said that lawsuit was filed in early July by 26 bars and has grown into a statewide effort to compel Governor Ducey to let them open.

"We've filed on the basis of the State Constitution. We're making State Constitutional law claims."

Wurman said the lawsuit contends the Governor has exercised powers he isn't allowed to have, directly affecting business for bar owners.

"The first is what's called the 'non-delegation doctrine.' we argue that the governor's emergency powers have affectively made him into a lawmaker."

The argument, according to Wurman, is bars with a certain license, in this case anything but a Series 12, are being ordered to stay closed.

"They unfairly discriminate against Series 6 and 7 licensees."

This, Wurman contended, unfairly allows bar in restaurants to remain open.

"If the Series 12 'restaurants' are essential then Series 6 are essential."

The State's Department of Liquor identifies Series 12 restaurants as those that earn 40 percent or more of their business based on the sale of food.

"Series 6's paid more money for the privilege of not having to maintain a minimum number of food sales," Wurman said.

Semantics aside, he said, despite the pandemic, it's unfair for the State to allow one business to open but not another,

"The point is, essential or non-essential all we asking for is equal treatment."

Arizona's Supreme Court will decide, on Tuesday, whether to take on his client's lawsuit, Wurman said.

"The earliest we could get a decision is sometime in September and we really hope we get a decision in September because it's urgent."