PHOENIX (AP) - The Arizona Supreme Court announced Tuesday that Chief Justice Scott Bales will retire from the state high court on July 31 after completing a five-year term as chief justice.
Bales' departure will provide Republican Gov. Doug Ducey with a fifth appointment to the court. Ducey already has made three justices and he will choose one of five nominees recommended by a screening commission to fill a vacancy created by John Pelander's recent retirement.
Bales was appointed a justice in 2005 by then-Gov. Janet Napolitano, a fellow Democrat, and he is currently the longest-serving justice and the only Democrat on the seven-member court.
The court announced last November that the justices had selected Justice Robert Brutinel as the next chief justice for a five-year term starting July 1.