Brooke v. Moore

In Brooke v. Moore, 60 Ariz. 551, 142 P.2d 211 (1943), the Arizona Supreme Court construed a statute that set forth the requirements for obtaining permits to hold horse and dog-racing meets. 60 Ariz. at 552-53, 142 P.2d at 211-12. The statute provided that, if the Arizona Tax Commission investigated and found that the applicant had a reputation for honesty and fair dealing and the plan was not objectionable, the Commission "may" issue a permit. Id. at 553, 142 P.2d at 211-12. Having made these two findings, the Commission claimed it could nevertheless deny the application. Id. at 552, 142 P.2d at 212. The court, however, interpreted "may" as mandatory, concluding that the Legislature had not granted the Commission any discretion to deny a racing permit in cases in which the Commission found that the prerequisites to granting the license had been satisfied. Id. at 554, 142 P.2d at 212. The court reasoned that authorizing dog racing would create revenue and would thus benefit both the public and the petitioners, and, because it could not identify any conflicting public interests, it would be arbitrary and capricious to interpret the statute as providing the Commission discretion to deny an application under such circumstances. Id. at 554-55, 142 P.2d at 212.