Preceded byRebecca White Berch NameScott Bales Preceded byCharles E. Jones
Appointed byJanet Napolitano Preceded byAndrew D. Hurwitz
Alma materMichigan State University
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W. Scott Bales (born 1956) is the Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court. He was appointed to the court in 2005 by Governor Janet Napolitano, through Arizona's merit selection system. He was retained for a six-year term in 2008. He was elected by his fellow justices as Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, effective June 27, 2014. He replaced Justice Rebecca White Berch as Chief Justice.
Following his 1974 graduation from White Pigeon High School, Justice Bales graduated cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, Phi Kappa Phi, and Omicron Delta Epsilon with a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1978. He graduated from Harvard University with an M.A. in Economics in 1980. Bales earned his J.D., Magna Cum Laude, from Harvard Law School in 1983. While at Harvard Law School, he was a member of the Board of Editors of the Harvard Law Review.
Following law school, Bales clerked for the Office of the Solicitor General in 1983. He went on to clerk for Judge Joseph T. Sneed III of the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. From 1984 to 1985 he clerked for Associate Justice Sandra Day O'Connor of the United States Supreme Court.
Following his clerkships, Justice Bales went into private practice at the Phoenix law firm of Meyer, Hendricks, Victor, Osborn & Maledon from 1985 to 1994. He was an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the District of Arizona from 1995 to 1999, including service as Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Policy Development from 1998 to 1999. Justice Bales then served as Solicitor General for the State of Arizona from 1999 to 2001. He returned to private practice as a partner at Lewis and Roca from 2001 until his appointment to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2005.
Justice Bales was appointed to the Arizona Supreme Court in 2005 by Governor Janet Napolitano, through Arizona's merit selection system. He was retained for a six-year term in 2008 with more than 77 percent of Arizona voters casting ballots in favor of his retention in office. He was elected by his fellow justices as Chief Justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, effective June 26, 2014. He replaced Justice Rebecca White Berch as Chief Justice. He was once again retained by Arizona voters in 2014 with just over 73% of the vote. Justice Bales was elected to the American Law Institute in 2007 and was elected to the ALI Council in 2014. He serves as an Adviser on the Principles of Election Law: Resolution of Election Disputes, and was a consultant on the Restatement Third, Employment Law project.
Cheatham v. DiCiccio in which the court upheld release time for member of the police union against a challenge by the Goldwater Institute.
Justice Bales and Justice Robert M. Brutinel dissented from the majority in the 2016 case State v. Holle. Justice Bales argued that under the state's child molestation law parents could be charged for simple acts like changing a diaper. Fordham University law professor John Pfaff wrote of the majority's decision, “If I owned a day care centerI’d be closing down and moving to another state.” Holle is only the court's 3rd 3-2 decision since Bales became Chief Justice.
"Justice Sandra Day O'Connor: No Insurmountable Hurdles", 58 Stan. L. Rev. 1705 (2006).
"The Ninth Circuit: Should It Stay or Should It Go?," 34 U.C. Davis L. Rev. 379 (2000)
"Turning the Microscope Back on Forensic Scientists", 26 Litigation 51 (WINTER 2000).