Every Arkansas Supreme Court Justice has paid annual bar dues late | Arkansas Blog

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Every Arkansas Supreme Court Justice has paid annual bar dues late

Posted By on Thu, Apr 10, 2014 at 5:02 PM

click to enlarge scgroup-new.jpg

All seven Arkansas Supreme Court justices have paid their annual bar fees late in the past. Two justices, Justice Karen Baker and Justice Courtney Hudson Henry*, failed to pay their annual dues within eight years of joining the Court. That time window may be significant because Amendment 80 of the Arkansas Constitution requires Supreme Court justices to be licensed attorneys at least eight years immediately preceding the date they assumed office.

Several lawsuits alleging that similar administrative suspensions due to late payments should disqualify circuit judge candidates from assuming office have been winding their way through the courts. The constitution requires circuit judge candidates to be licensed attorneys in Arkansas for six years prior to holding office. 

In the case that started the controversy, specially appointed Judge John Cole found that Valerie Bailey, a candidate for the 6th Judicial District seat, was ineligible for office because her license had been suspended for nearly nine years. That Bailey's suspension was of an administrative nature, rather than for misconduct, didn't matter, Cole said. "A suspension is a suspension is a suspension," he said from the bench.

Since then lawsuits challenging the eligibility of candidates Angela Byrd, Judge Tim Fox (the judge whom Bailey planned to challenge) and Judge H.G. Foster have been filed. On Wednesday, Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled that Byrd shouldn't be disqualified and that it's unconstitutional for the Arkansas Supreme Court Clerk to suspend an attorney's license without holding a hearing. In Griffen's courtroom, Supreme Court Clerk Les Steenin testified that he's always treated suspensions for late payment differently from other suspensions, the Arkansas Democrat Gazette reported. Some 700 to 900 attorneys pay late annually, Steenin told Griffen. 

Meanwhile, Judge H.G. Foster has asked the Supreme Court to claim jurisdiction in the suit filed against him and, after being named as a respondent in Foster's petition to the Court, Attorney General Dustin McDaniel also asked the court to intervene and argued that late payment of dues shouldn't disqualify a candidate. 

So. The Supreme Court is sure to take the question up soon. Will Baker and Henry be forced to recuse?

This whole thing seems more than a little silly. Surely, in the end, it will amount to little more than exposing that attorneys are as prone to forget to do bureaucratic things as the rest of us. 

Below are the records of late payments by Supreme Court members. March 1 is the annual deadline for dues. Voters passed Amendment 80 in 2000. The Court, which provided the Times the information that follows in response to a Freedom of Information Act request, only has records of late payments dating back to January 1970.

*A previous version of this post included Chief Justice Jim Hannah among the justices who might be ineligible to assume office depending on how Amendment 80 of the Arkansas Constitution is interpreted. Voters approved Amendment 80 in 2000, but it didn't go into effect until July 2001. Hannah took office in January 2001, so Amendment 80's requirements wouldn't affect his eligibility regardless of how it's interpreted.


Chief Justice Jim Hannah
Paid dues on: 3/27/74
3/12/97

Justice Donald Corbin
Paid dues on: 3/21/74
6/10/77

Justice Cliff Hoofman
Paid dues on: 3/29/74
7/15/77

Justice Josephine L. Hart
Paid dues on: 7/30/75
3/29/95

Justice Paul Danielson
Paid dues on: 8/26/81
3/29/83
6/18/84
5/4/88

Justice Karen Baker
Paid dues on: 8/10/94
5/13/97
3/29/00
3/5/03

Justice Courtney Hudson Goodson
Paid dues on: 6/7/04


Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store

Favorite

Comments (11)

Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-11 of 11

Add a comment

More by Lindsey Millar

  • An Arkansas-themed gift guide

    Get out your shopping list.
    • Nov 23, 2017
  • The Tom Cotton's Bright Idea Edition

    The downfall of Jeff Long, Tom Cotton’s terrible contribution to the Republican tax plan, a no-bid consulting contract in state government and #metoo in Arkansas — all covered on this week's podcast.
    • Nov 17, 2017
  • Arkansas Times seeks to measure sexual assault in Arkansas

    With the growing revelations of sexual assault of women by movie stars and media moguls, and the national #metoo movement that has allowed women to say they, too, have suffered abuse, the Arkansas Times is seeking to learn what sort of inappropriate behavior Arkansans — of both sexes — have been subjected to, through what we have named The Cassandra Project.
    • Nov 16, 2017
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • IHOP coming down, but .....

    I always scan the Little Rock City Board for items of interest this week and this one caught my eye: A zoning measure required by a proposal to tear down the IHOP at Markham and University.
    • Apr 30, 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
  • 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

Blogroll

 

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