El Rushbo proved no match for departing court spokeswoman Cari Gerchick.
El Rushbo proved no match for departing court spokeswoman Cari Gerchick.

Cari Gerchick, Spokeswoman for Arizona Supreme Court, Another Layoff Victim

More bad news for journalists: Cari Gerchick, one of the more helpful public information officers in Arizona, has fallen victim to budget cuts.

Gerchick, who is also a lawyer, announced in an email this afternoon that her position with the courts is being eliminated.

New Times named Gerchick "Best Public Information Officer" in 2007. She was also the recipient of an Arizona Newspapers Association "Freedom of Information" award that same year.

We've got plenty of stories about Gerchick, who was both enormously friendly and fiercely protective of "her" court. But our favorite story actually features a personality even more outsized than Gerchick's: Rush Limbaugh.

As New Times' Ray Stern first reported on this blog back last November, Limbaugh fell prey to some misinformation on a right-wing blog earlier this year. Judicial Watch had claimed that Supreme Court Justice Ruth McGregor had called for a ban on such terms as "illegals" and "illegal aliens" within the Arizona court system.

But McGregor had done no such thing. She had merely forwarded on a letter from a Hispanic lawyers group -- and let the group know that it would up to some other judges to decide "whether any further distribution of your request" would be helpful. That was it.

When Limbaugh picked up the story from Judicial Watch, continuing the misinformation about the supposed "ban," Gerchick got on the horn.

And, amazingly, the most powerful guy in talk radio backed down: Thanks to Gerchick pushing the issue, El Rushbo actually issued a correction both on air and on his Web site. We're guessing that doesn't happen every day.

The Supreme Court is going to miss Cari Gerchick. Us, too. 


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