Legislature may bring in Starr power
Arizona Republic
Jul. 30, 2006


Wishing upon a Starr? . . .

Does the name Kenneth Starr ring a bell?

He was the former prosecutor Republicans loved and Democrats loved to hate after he spearheaded a high-profile, hard-charging investigation into the Monica Lewinsky sex scandal that engulfed President Clinton's second term.
As the independent counsel, Starr probed various Clinton real estate dealings. His investigation was eventually expanded to include Lewinsky, the White House intern who had an affair with Clinton. That became the infamous Starr Report and led to Clinton's impeachment trial.

Why the stroll down impeachment lane?

Well, House Speaker Jim Weiers wants to use that Starr power to help the Legislature win an English-learner case should it make it all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court.

It could happen.

The case, Flores vs. Arizona, is being decided by a federal Appeals Court in San Francisco and could determine how Arizona pays for students who struggle to learn English.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals panel is expected to rule by the end of the year, potentially deciding the fate of about 160,000 students in Arizona.

And apparently Starr, who has argued 25 cases before the Supreme Court, is interested.

Weiers' office originally called Starr's Los Angeles law office during the legislative session and discussed a possible retainer and a rate at a "significant discount."

"He definitely has name ID and credibility that could help us," said Weiers'
chief of staff, Jodi Jerich.

Jerich said the plan would be to team the Legislature's attorney, David Cantelme, with Starr, dean of Pepperdine Law School in California.

The Insider heard about it last week after Weiers told some friends at the annual summer get-together of conservative lawmakers and policy wonks.