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Judicial mystery 

Judicial mystery

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette reported last weekend that it appeared there were no longer any candidates for a federal district judge vacancy in the western district of Arkansas, where Judge Harry Barnes has retired.

Arkansas's senators had recommended Caroline Craven, a federal magistrate in Texas; Carlton Jones, a Texarkana prosecutor, and Susan Hickey of El Dorado, Barnes' law clerk. Craven has withdrawn, the newspaper said, as has Jones, who's been elected prosecuting attorney. The article suggested Hickey was also no longer in the running because Gov. Mike Beebe appointed her last week to fill a state circuit judgeship vacated by the death of Carol Anthony. Or is she?

Multiple sources tell us that Hickey has in recent days still been undergoing background checks for potential nomination to the federal bench by President Obama. Friends think her appointment by Beebe, which would last no longer than the end of 2012, would build her resume for the federal judgeship.

Then there's the mystery on a judgeship in Little Rock, where Little Rock lawyers Denise Hoggard, Chris Heller and Amy Russell were recommended by the senators. Hoggard was viewed as a front-runner as the pick of senior Sen. Blanche Lincoln, but all seemingly have run into White House resistance. Now lawyers are wondering what happens if Lincoln loses to John Boozman. Will Pryor, then in charge of judicial recommendations from Arkansas, step up again for Russell, wife of his former chief of staff Bob Russell? Russell's record as a past financial contributor to George W. Bush leaves a sour taste with many Democrats.

Historic wedding

The Arkansas Times doesn't make a habit of announcing weddings, but when they are not accepted for the pages of the statewide daily, we will consider exceptions. Thus we are happy to announce the Aug. 20 marriage of former Arkansan Edward Pope, 53, and Ruben Tanoira, 44, in Buenos Aires. Pope may be the first American man to marry in Argentina since a July law change that allowed people of the same sex to marry there.

Pope is a graduate of the former North Little Rock Northeast High School, the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and American University Law School. His work experience includes six years on the staff of U.S. Sen. Dale Bumpers and 11 years in the U.S. Foreign Service. He is the son of Margaret Hartley of North Little Rock and the late Carl Pope. Tanoira is a professional translator and employee of Argentina's national airline. They'll live in Buenos Aires.

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