Arkansas: Debate Launched Over Ending Supreme Court Elections

2000px-Seal_of_the_Supreme_Court_of_Arkansas.svgThe state Senate Judiciary Committee debated, but arrived at no consensus, on Wednesday regarding proposals to end Arkansas Supreme Court elections and to require disclosure of spending in existing judicial races by outside groups.

“We’ll continue to study. This is just the beginning step in the process,” said Sen. Jeremy Hutchinson, a Republican and the committee chairman, according to the Arkansas News Bureau.

There was advocacy on both sides of each proposal. Gov. Asa Hutchinson, a Republican, said earlier this month (see Gavel Grab) he would likely support an effort next year to move from judicial elections to a merit-based appointive system in the state; he made his remarks after a contentious and expensive state Supreme Court election.

Staking out opposition on Wednesday to an end to Supreme Court elections were Arkansas Justice Karen Baker, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen and the head of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association, Bob Edwards, according to ArkansasOnline.com.