Paying back the judges | Arkansas Blog

Friday, March 16, 2007

Paying back the judges

Posted By on Fri, Mar 16, 2007 at 4:40 PM

You gotta get up early for Joint Budget's personnel subcommittee and reporters aren't always around when excitement breaks out. Like earlier this week.

Rep. Jim Medley of Fort Smith (who, it should be noted, is a Republican who lives off the blessings of a government money flow to his area agency on aging, and handily serves as an in-house lobbyist for such agencies at the same time) was waiting in ambush for Supreme Court Chief Justice Jim Hannah and the court's budget.

After first postponing Hannah's planned presentation for 30 minutes or so, Medley dumped a proposal few on the committee had seen previously -- to lop fully 14 jobs off the court's 44-person payroll. Medley named specific names, including Hannah's own secretary. He then proceeded to recommend cuts of a third or more in virtually every budget line item -- for travel and training, for example, and even a reduction from $5,000 to $1,500 in the money to pay special justices when a regular member recuses.

Sen. Jim Luker challenged Medley on where the proposal was coming from and on what thinking it was based. Medley was smart enough to avoid saying it was anything like a payback for the Lake View decision or, more likely, the decision that threw a constitutional monkey wrench into using the General Improvement Fund as a huge legislative pork barrel. Medley's only apparent ally in the exchange seemed to be Republican Rep. Eric Harris, but Medley did most of the jawboning. However, this is a subcommittee loaded with Republicans, quasi-Republicans and the sort of legislator likely to take direct retribution against the court over its GIF ruling.

Hannah also got a pummeling from Sen. Steve Faris in questioning. It concerned the justices' annual six-week summer vacation and, moreover, the question of whether the court staff gets to knock off for six weeks at that time as well. By the account I heard from someone who was there, Hannah didn't handle the staff vacation question very adroitly.  (Common court staff observes normal work rules, but it's anyone's guess about working practices of the individual justices' employees during the hiatus.)

Mercifully for Hannah, time ran out before a vote was taken. But the subject is likely to arise again next Tuesday morning. It might be worth the early hour for enterprising reporters.

From the ArkTimes store


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

Readers also liked…

  • 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
  • Sabin's subterfuge in the race for mayor has roots in rigged city government

    The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reports that an ethics complaint has been filed saying that the exploratory committee Rep. Warwick Sabin created to prepare for a run for Little Rock mayor was a subterfuge to avoid the city ordinance that doesn't allow campaign fundraising to begin until five months before the November 2018 election.Of course it is.
    • Aug 10, 2017
  • El Dorado challenges state Board transfer decision; raises broad question about 'choice' vs. segregation

    The El Dorado School District HAS gone to federal court in response to the state Board of Education's approval, over El Dorado's objection, of the transfer of a white student from El Dorado to the majority white Parkers Chapel School District.
    • Aug 18, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments



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