The memo that set off hot response from two Supreme Court justices | Arkansas Blog

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

The memo that set off hot response from two Supreme Court justices

Posted By on Wed, Mar 18, 2015 at 7:20 AM

click to enlarge JUDGE GARY ARNOLD: The Benton judge's memo set off two justices.
  • JUDGE GARY ARNOLD: The Benton judge's memo set off two justices.
The Arkansas Blog reported yesterday the steamy letters fired off by Supreme Court Jistices Karen Baker and Jo Hart in response to a memo from Judge Gary Arnold, president of the Arkansas Judicial Council, about the deliberations of the independent citizens commission which Monday finalized a round of big pay increases for judges.

Justices Baker and Hart had appeared at a public hearing to complain that the 11 percent pay raises for them, to $166,500, weren't big enough. They were mentioned in a brief report later by Arnold, who'd been following the proceedings for the judges' organization. The group meets on matters of shared concern and, among others, hires a lobbyist to represent judges in legislative matters.

Last night, I got a copy of the Arnold memo that set the justices off.

He wrote that he had said in a letter in early February that judges should bring concerns about pay to the special committee working on the issue "in an effort to present as unified a position as possible." But, he said,  "unexpected presentations by two of our members generated some media responses" and said the effect on the commission itself was unknown. "I will ask the Judicial Council Supreme Court liaison Committee to discuss and suggest ways to facilitate more open communication within the Council in the future."

If this seems tame, the two justices clearly didn't think so.

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