Category Archives: Arizona & Local

State v. Federal Law – Medical Marijuana

Eighteen states (including Arizona) and the District of Columbia now allow for medical use of marijuana.  The medical marijuana laws of these states are in direct conflict with federal law, however, as the Controlled Substances Act prohibits the cultivation, distribution, and possession of marijuana.  This has created an incongruous situation in which an individual may be using medical marijuana in compliance with state law but is concurrently violating federal law, and thus exposing him or herself to federal prosecution.  While the U.S. Department of Justice stated in a 2009 Memorandum to U.S. Attorneys that federal prosecutors should generally not focus their resources on “individuals whose actions are in clear and unambiguous compliance with existing state laws providing for the medical use of marijuana,” prosecution is still a real possibility.

It is yet to be seen how the federal government will respond to the state laws authorizing and regulating medical marijuana use, but if in the meantime you would like to learn more about the constitutional law issues raised by these laws  you can read through the recent Congressional Research Service report “Medical Marijuana: The Supremacy Clause, Federalism, and the Interplay Between State and Federal Laws.”

To learn more about the Medical Marijuana Program in Arizona check out the Arizona Department of Health Services webpage.

The Legal Response to Hate Speech

This Friday, October 26, the College of Law is hosting an event titled The Legal Response to Hate Speech: Should the U.S. be more like Europe?  The event will consist of a conversation between Jeremy Waldron, University Professor at NYU School of Law and James Weinstein, Amelia Lewis Professor of Constitutional Law at the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, as well as a book signing and reception after the discussion.  You can get event details and reserve a ticket on the College of Law’s website.

If you are interested in this topic you may want to read Waldron’s new book, The Harm in Hate Speech, or another recent addition to the Law Library’s collection titled The Content and Context of Hate Speech: Rethinking Regulation and Responses, edited by Michael Herz and Peter Molnar.

   In The Harm in Hate Speech, Waldron discusses the damage that hate speech does and compares American free speech laws to European laws which punish speech that “incites hatred” against an individual or group based on his or her race, ethnicity, religion, sex, or sexual orientation.   The Content and Context of Hate Speech: Rethinking Regulations and Responses also has a comparative emphasis, as the authors consider whether it is possible to establish hate speech policies that balance free speech but also protect individuals and groups.

The Harm in Hate Speech is available in the law Library at Law Treatises KF9345 .W34 2012. The Content and Context of Hate Speech: Rethinking Regulations and Responses  is available in the Law Library at Law Treatises K5210 .C66 2010.

Register to Vote Today

If you’re planning to vote in this year’s elections, now is the time to make sure you are registered, as tomorrow, October 9, is the last day to register to vote in Arizona.  To register, go to the Voter Registration and Education page from the Arizona Secretary of State, Tom Horne.

Once you have registered check out Arizona’s page at for a list of such information as what ID is necessary for identification at the voting booth, the requirements for time off to vote, upcoming debates and forums, provisions for voters with disabilities, and more.

For those curious about ballot measures, the League of Women Voters of Arizona have put up a voter guide here, including summaries of each proposition, arguments for and against, and a list of supporters and opponents of each issue.

Not an Arizona voter?  No problem.  You can simply enter your voting address in the side form of or scroll down and choose your state to find out about voting there.

Homeowner Rights


The ASU Homeowner Advocacy Unit at the College of Law is hosting a free conference on homeowner rights October 19th. The conference will feature Joseph A. Smith, the National Mortgage Settlement Monitor, as well as representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General of Arizona, California, Nevada, and New Mexico.

Laws concerning homeowner rights can be complicated, so the Law Library has developed research guides related to the subject. The guides include information for homeowners, attorneys representing clients, and students researching this area of the law. They list both primary and secondary sources, with a focus on materials available in the Law Library. Check the guides out:

Foreclosure Law Research Guide

Homeowners Associations Research Guide

Residential Landlord and Tenant Laws

You can find more information about the homeowners right conference and reserve your ticket to the event here.

Medical Marijuana Coming to a CHAA Near You

Arizona’s medical marijuana law is on its way to being implemented, as litigation challenging the law has failed.  On January 4th U.S. District Court Judge Susan Bolton dismissed the case brought by the State of Arizona and Governor Jan Brewer against the United States, the Arizona Association of Dispensary Professionals, and the Arizona Medical Marijuana Association.  Just a few weeks later Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Richard Gama ruled that the state cannot restrict who operates medical-marijuana dispensaries based on where they live or their financial history.

Since these rulings nearly 500 applications for medical-marijuana dispensaries have been filed with the Arizona Department of Health Services.  126 dispensary licenses are expected to be awarded in early August, one per designated geographical Community Health Analysis Area, or CHAA.  This Department of Health Services map provides a visual of the number of applications received per CHAA.

You can read more about the Department of Health Services’ implementation of the Arizona Medical Marijuana Act on the Department’s Medical Marijuana website.

Free CLE Featuring a Presentation from Iraq’s Chief Justice

The Arizona Bar Association is hosting a free “Rule of Law Reform in a World of Conflict” CLE at the upcoming State Bar Convention.  The CLE will feature a panel of lawyers exploring the role of law in the reconstruction of Iraq and Kosovo.   A presentation will be given by the Honorable Medhat al-Mahmoud, the Chief Justice of Iraq, as well as by Tom Monaghan, a Nebraska judge who led legal reform projects in Kosovo.  Dean Sylvester will introduce the panel and Professor Daniel Rothenberg will moderate.

CLE details
When: Friday, June 22nd, 2-4pm
Where: Arizona Biltmore Resort and Spa
Who: This program is open to both registered attendees and lawyers who will not be attending the convention




Tombstone Running Dry?


The city of Tombstone is waging an epic legal battle against the federal government for access to the wilderness area of the Huachuca Mountains in order to repair its damaged water system.

Tombstone relies on a number of mountain springs for its water, which is piped in to the city.  The pipelines that deliver the spring water were damaged in last year’s Monument Fire and the ensuing mud and rock slides.  Tombstone officials have attempted to make repairs to the pipeline and restore the water flow to the city, but the National Forest Service has blocked the majority of these attempts.  The Forest Service maintains that any work done in the Huachucas must comply with the 1964 Wilderness Act.

Tired of the slow pace of repairs, the city of Tombstone has filed a lawsuit against the federal government seeking unrestricted access to the springs and to easement rights for the land 50 feet on either side of the pipes leading from the springs to the city. Because the case raises constitutional questions about the relationship between local, state and federal governments, it may end up in front of the Supreme Court.

Read more about the case and the city of Tombstone on CNN’s online article, Showdown at the H20 Corral.




4th Annual Edward J. Shoen Leading Scholars Lecture

Jack Goldsmith

This Thursday the College of Law will host Jack Goldsmith, who is delivering the 4th annual Edward J. Shoen Leading Scholars Lecture. Goldsmith will be speaking on presidential accountability post-9/11. The Shoen Lecture is free and open to the public, but tickets are encouraged.

Goldsmith is the Harry J. Shattuck Professor at Harvard Law School, a position he has held since 2005. He served as the Assistant Attorney General in the Office of Legal Counsel from October 2003 through July 2004, and as Special Counsel to the U.S. Department of Defense from September 2002 through June 2003. You can read more about Goldsmith on the College of Law News webpage.

If you are interested in reading some of Goldsmith’s scholarship, be sure to check out one of the following books from the Law Library collection: The Terror Presidency: Law and Judgement Inside the Bush Administration (2007), Who Controls the Internet?  Illusions of a Borderless World (2006), The Limits of International Law (2005); or download one of his many journal articles from HeinOnline.

Professor Bartels Wins Supreme Court Case

It’s been 29 years since he last argued before the U.S. Supreme Court, but he still has it.  Martinez v. Ryan, the case that Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law Professor Bob Bartels argued on October 4, 2011 before the nine Justices, was decided in late March in favor of Bartels’ client Luis Mariano Martinez.  The case had made it all the way through the court system without a judge voting in favor of Martinez until it reached the Supreme Court.

You can read more about Martinez v. Ryan, look at merit and amicus briefs, and access lower court opinions on the SCOTUS Blog.  You can also listen to audio of the oral argument on the Oyez Project website.

Both the SCOTUS Blog and Oyez Project are excellent sources of information on Supreme Court cases, but there are a number of other resources available to you both online and in the Law Library collection.  We have compiled the best of these resources in our Supreme Court Research Guide, which details where to find court opinions, attorney briefs, oral argument transcripts and audio files, petitions for certiorari, and Supreme Court news.  Be sure to reference this Guide before starting on future Supreme Court research.

Hat tip to ASU News.

Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library Blog

The Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library has started a blog!  The blog is maintained as the e-newsletter for the Maricopa County Superior Court Law Library, and contains posts on such topics as library news, legal news, research tips, and court workshops and classes.  The blog also provides links to various legal research guides available online.  You can access the blog here.