Home > Judicial Branch Creating Law? > Power Grab by Guidelines Review Committee

Power Grab by Guidelines Review Committee

By advancing an agenda of creating a wholly new Child Support Policy through the Arizona Court Policy Process, the Guidelines Review Committee (GRC) is in violation of Article III of the Arizona State Constitution which provides for the separation of powers.

Article III of the State Constitution does not permit the Judiciary to create substantive policy outside of published appellate court opinions.  Yet the GRC is proposing exactly that.  In fact, the Arizona Judicial Council (AJC) has already provisionally recommended the adoption of COBS following the aggressive marketing of this program by the GRC leadership to the AJC.

At the June 24th, 2010 meeting of the AJC, Judge Norman Davis has gone on the record stating that he was concerned about the “Quasi-Legislative” nature of what the AJC was proposing to create in approving the COBS model.  He was particularly concerned that there was no complete product in the form of a calculator with which to measure the exact results that COBS would produce and to be able to compare those results to the existing Child Support Model used in Arizona.

The fact of the matter is that the Judiciary is not allowed to create substantive law through a committee process or through a policy-making process.  This is a power that is exclusively delegated to the State Legislature.  The State Legislature is only granted that authority subordinate to the power of the people of the State of Arizona.  In other words, the power of the legislature is a lesser power than the power of the people to create law through referendum.

In particular, the function of the State Judiciary is to apply and construe substantive law created by the State Legislature.  The only form through which the Judiciary creates substantive law is via published appellate and higher court opinions, not through a committee process.  If that were not the rule, the Judiciary would be put in the untenable position of applying and construing rules created by itself, an obvious conflict of interest on the part of the entire Judiciary.

The conduct of the Arizona Judiciary in this particular matter is outrageous and needs to be stopped.  Even if the policy that the GRC is recommending was a good policy — which it most assuredly is not — such policy must not become law.

The people of Arizona must let our government know that we do not support an activist judiciary.  We will not accept flagrant violations of the State Constitution and we will not accept a child support policy created substantially without public input.

Please join our efforts to stop COBS.

  1. Timothy
    August 22, 2010 at 1:57 am

    Yo! It is most true. At the Domestic Relations Committee (DRC) public meeting of July 23, 2010, a sitting member of the Guidelines Review Committee (GRC), Mr. David Horowitz, admitted on the public record stating “COBS represents a significant change in child support policy.” Mr. Horowitz is also on the public record stating “… child support payments in Arizona are way to low.”

    In previous years, the guidelines reviews were narrowly limited to technical corrections and economic adjustments caused by inflation, etc. The legislature seemed content to allow the GRC to do that. However, while the legislature was busy with other problems, the GRC indeed chose to alter its charter from supporting existing policy to developing a whole new policy.

    Existing policy bases your child support payment upon the “marginal cost of raising a child in an intact home”. The marginal cost is identified as the difference between the family expenses with the child in the home versus without the child in the home. That policy has been in place for approximately fourteen years.

    The newly proposed policy will (when approved, if approved, unless stopped), instead base your child support on “explicitly managing the gap in the standard of living between households” to a very narrow margin. Briefly, it attempts to alter the child support payment schedule in such a way as to approximately equalize the standard of living in each household.

    Existing policy does not attempt to manage the standard of living.

    It is my opinion that only our elected officials have the authority, and the responsibility, to define policy that so clearly will affect the economic well being of private people.

    Do you want the State of Arizona to dictate to you … your standard of living? Because you’ve had a child?

    And, remember, unlike “spousal maintenance” or “alimony” payments, this is a financial hit that endures up to 19 years of your life.

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