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Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick recuses himself from case related to election audit

Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick recused himself from the state Senate’s appeal of an order for Republican leaders to disclose hundreds of records related to its partisan election review in Maricopa County.

The court announced Tuesday it would consider the Senate’s appeal, and blocked the release of the records pending a hearing. A day later, Bolick sent a letter to all parties involved announcing he will not participate in the case moving forward.

Bolick cited the records at issue, roughly 1,000 documents in a “privilege log” that Bolick wrote includes email correspondence sent to his wife, Republican Rep. Shawnna Bolick.

A spokesman for the courts noted that justices aren’t required to disclose a reason for recusing themselves from a specific case.

As a member of the House, Shawnna Bolick was not directly involved in running the Senate’s election review, but  she was among 20 Republican lawmakers who signed a letter urging Congress to reject Arizona’s electoral votes for Biden pending a legislative investigation of the election.

Last legislative session, she sponsored legislation to give  state lawmakers the power to revoke certification of presidential electors chosen by Arizona votes.

The Arizona Republic and American Oversight, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit, have argued records related to the so-called “audit” must be made public. Senate Republicans have argued at every turn, so far unsuccessfully, that some records from their review are shielded from the public by legislative privilege. 

The state Court of Appeals ruled in January there’s no evidence the Senate’s election review was related to the official business of state lawmakers — that is, to make laws.

Ben Giles is a senior editor at KJZZ.