January 13, 2014 marked the 25th anniversary of the groundbreaking for the State Courts Building at 1501 West Washington and it is a symbol of how far the judicial system has come in Arizona since its statehood in 1912.
The initial design of the Courts Building began in 1984 and the groundbreaking ceremony was held on January 13, 1989, with retired U.S. Supreme Court justice Warren Burger as the speaker.
One of the most significant aspects of the Building are the words etched in the marble at the main (north) entrance. The words “"Arizona State Courts Building" were originally to have been etched, but the justices at that time wanted a more significant statement.
In doing so, they chose a partial quotation -- "Where Law Ends, Tyranny Begins. The full quotation reads, "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who posses it: and this I know, my lords, that where law ends, tyranny begins!" It was taken from a 1770 speech by Lord Chatham entitled "The English Constitution."
The Courts Building is home to the Administrative Office of the Courts, Arizona State Supreme Court, and Arizona Court of Appeals Division 1.
Former Justice James Duke Cameron and former Judge Joe W. Contreras were largely instrumental in obtaining the financing needed to construct the building. They spent nearly 10 years obtaining funding. Judge Contreras was born here and his family had a home on this site.