Friday, September 19, 2014

Arkansas Supreme Court 2016 rumor mill; already a non-denial

Posted By on Fri, Sep 19, 2014 at 7:04 AM

click to enlarge THE SUPREMES: Who will lead them after 2016?
  • THE SUPREMES: Who will lead them after 2016?

A couple of divided Arkansas Supreme Court decisions Thursday  inspired legal rumor mill chatter about the next round of elections in 2016.

Chief Justice Jim Hannah's seat will be on the ballot. His age, by then over 70, means if he ran again he'd have to forfeit future retirement benefits under Arkansas law. The expectation, as a consequence, has been that he won't run.

Associate Justice Courtney Goodson is expected to seek the seat and reportedly has already begun making rounds of lawyers on such a race. She starts with a built-in advantage: The immense wealth, fund-raising ability and political clout of her current husband, John Goodson, the UA trustee and successful class action lawyer.

Anybody else? Many are looking.

Most fascinating rumor of the day: Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, who leaves office at the end of this year,was said to be thinking about the race. I asked him. Response:

I think we should get past this election cycle before commenting on the next election cycle. I'm focused on doing my job until my last day.

Hmmm.

Then I heard something more interesting. It was that Hannah might run again, either giving up a pension or perhaps benefitting if someone filed the long-anticipated suit challenging the pension rule as age discriminatory. Hannah has some impetus to want to hold his seat. Some of the new members of the court have formed a dissenting bloc on some issues, including foiling his preference for the next Supreme Court clerk, a chief administrative office. Goodson and Justices Karen Baker and Jo Hart aligned on that issue, with appointed Justice Cliff Hoofman playing a critical role by not voting, leaving a 3-3 split. (It so happens that Hoofman joined with Baker and Goodson in one dissent yesterday and formed a four-vote majority with Baker, Goodson and Hart in another opinion.)

Judges have tried unsuccessfully in the past to get the legislature to lift the retirement age. It's an issue in many other states, too, because of a growing belief that 70 is not as old as once thought. (I know; that depends.) Legal challenges weren't encouraged by a U.S. circuit court of appeals ruling in Pennsylvania this year that the mandatory retirement law there was constitutional.

Incidental notes: McDaniel ruffled the female court bloc — who glared at him in front-row seats at a bar meeting this summer — with a pronouncement on results-oriented decisions by the Supreme Court. Rhonda Wood, who'll join the court in January (powered by huge early money from nursing home magnate Michael Morton of Mike Maggio infamy), was among those who lobbied to retain the 70-retirement rule. She's been rumored to have chief justice aspirations, too. The seat of  Justice Paul Danielson, another justice who'll be over 70, is also on the ballot in 2016. Circuit Judge Shawn Womack of Mountain Home, the former Republican legislator, is mentioned as hoping to join the growing Republican contingent on the court.
Favorite

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

  • The assault on Obamacare begins

    Donald Trump Friday night signed an executive order directing government to scale back Obamacare to the extent possible. Though the signing was mostly symbolic, it likely has implications for Arkansas.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • Two dead in North Little Rock shooting

    two people were fatally wounded about 9 p.m. Friday in a home in the 1400 block of Division Street, North Little Rock.
    • Jan 21, 2017
  • 2nd Amendment meets the 1st in Fayetteville on campus carry

    They've had a forum in Fayetteville today on Rep. Charlie Collins' fervent desire to force more pistol-packing people onto the campus at the University of Arkansas (and every other college in Arkansas.) He got an earful from opponents.
    • Jan 20, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Natural gas pipeline ruptures east of I-30 bridge, closing two miles of Arkansas River

    The U.S. Coast Guard has confirmed news that began circulating earlier today: A pipeline carrying natural gas across the Arkansas River ruptured in Little Rock yesterday or over the weekend.
    • Jun 2, 2015
  • The long and winding road: No exception yet for 30 Crossing

    The Arkansas highway department's representative on the Metroplan board of directors told the board today that the department is requesting an exception to the planning agency's cap on six lanes for its 30 Crossing project to widen Interstate 30 from six to 10 (and more) lanes.
    • Jun 29, 2016
  • Child abuse: What about the victims?

    A guest writer in the Arkansas Times, a victim of child sexual abuse, says Arkansas sends a message that it condones abuse by a lack of consequences for the Harrises and Duggars.
    • Jun 3, 2015

Most Shared

  • Sarah Huckabee Sanders to be deputy White House press secretary

    Donald Trump announced additional White House staff today, notably including Sarah Huckabee Sanders, deputy assistant to the president and principal deputy press secretary.
  • Legislation filed for $10 million school voucher program

    The legislation to vastly expand transfer of state tax dollars to private schools came before the school choice day event I mentioned earlier.
  • Pork and more

    Some notes on disparate topics before I take a vacation break.
  • Trumpeting

    When President-elect Trump announced he would, in a few days, force Congress to enact comprehensive health insurance for everyone, poor or rich, that would provide better and cheaper care than they've ever gotten, you had to wonder whether this guy is a miracle worker or a fool.
  • Putin and Trump

    Here's a thought exercise: What do you suppose would happen if Russian strongman Vladimir Putin decided to clarify remarks he reportedly made about Donald Trump during the election campaign?

Visit Arkansas

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

1.73-carat diamond found at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Jack Pearadin and Doug Nelsen found a 1.73-carat diamond after nearly a year of searching the park's field.

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

Blogroll

 

© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation