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Arizona high court justice Berch mulling retirement

PHOENIX (AP) - The longest-serving justice currently on the Arizona Supreme Court is considering retiring within months.

Supreme Court spokeswoman Heather Murthy confirmed Tuesday that Justice Rebecca White Berch could step down as early as September.

A vacancy would give Gov. Doug Ducey his first opportunity to appoint a high court justice. He would pick from a group of nominees chosen by a commission.

Berch was named to the Supreme Court in 2002 by then-Gov. Jane Hull and was chief justice from 2009-2014. She previously served on the state court of appeals, as solicitor general and special counsel to the Arizona attorney general.

Murphy says Berch mentioned her retirement plans to law students touring the court Tuesday. She declined to be interviewed in advance of submitting her formal resignation to Ducey.