Justice Jim Johnson dies | Arkansas Blog

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Justice Jim Johnson dies

Posted By on Sun, Feb 14, 2010 at 10:50 AM

THE JOHNSONS: Justice Jim Johnson with his wife, Virginia (she's now deceased), when she made her run for governor. Photo from Encyclopedia of Arkansas History and Culture.

Former Supreme Court Justice Jim Johnson, known both for his segregationist political activities in the 1950s and dabbling in the political campaign against Bill Clinton during his presidency, died yesterday.

A Faulkner County sheriff's office spokesman, Lt. Matt Rice, said Johnson was found dead in his home about 10 a.m. Saturday with an apparently self-inflicted chest wound from a .30-30 rifle. Johnson had been beset by medical problems, he said. Roller-McNutt Funeral Home in Conway will be handling arrangements.

He was 85. Here's a standard biographical history. This will end his prolific and pointed letters to the editor (unless some are still in the pipeline), delivered on stationery marked with his name for his Conway home, "Whitehaven."

Justice Jim was a courtly man and lively company, gracious in social interaction with friend and political foe. But Mark Anthony's words in Julius Caesar about men's deeds come, unavoidably, to mind. As recently as 1990, the state was embroiled in a political debate of his making. That year, voters barely approved the repeal of Amendment 44, the states rights amendment he fathered to block integration. It had long  been declared unconstitutional by the federal court, but it stood as a lingering symbol of the struggle against civil rights. A rump group of true believers led a fight that almost kept it in the constitution. My recollection, as I originally wrote here, was that he was a part of that effort, though he had long acknowledged the amendment's lack of legal force. A friend thinks Justice Jim had given up on the fight by then. I haven't yet been able to find a document to clear up the contradictory recollections.

From the ArkTimes store


Comments (42)

Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-42 of 42

Add a comment

More by Max Brantley

Readers also liked…

  • Saturday's open line

    Got any thoughts? Put them here.
    • May 21, 2016
  • Police identify two women found fatally shot on Chicot Road

    Little Rock police have identified two women found dead of gunshot wounds in an SUV parked next to a vacant trailer in a mobile home park at 11500 Chicot Road.
    • May 16, 2017
  • Kenneth Starr: A comment from Betsey Wright

    Betsey Wright, former President Bill Clinton's chief of staff when he was Arkansas governor, responds bitterly to a New York Times article today quoting Whitewater Prosecutor Kenneth Starr's warm words about Clinton. She can't forget the lives Starr ruined in Arkansas.
    • May 24, 2016

Most Shared

Most Viewed

Most Recent Comments

  • Re: Thursday line's open

    • oH, MY DEAR mAXI, i AM IN FINE SPIRITS. This shit show looks to take…

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: Hutchinson meets with Pence, urges caution on NAFTA

    • Anyone think Asa will offer Trump economic development $$$$$$$ for a southern Arkansas Mara Lago?

    • on December 15, 2017
  • Re: Thursday line's open

    • Glad you are in fine fettle Steven. Rejoicing may be premature though. Even if all…

    • on December 15, 2017



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