History shows Arkansas Supreme Court Justices rule pro-LGBT - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

History shows Arkansas Supreme Court Justices rule pro-LGBT

Posted: Updated:
LITTLE ROCK (KATV) – With a decision as high profile as the same-sex marriage ruling appeal now before the Arkansas Supreme Court, there’s sure to be a lot on the minds of the state’s seven Supreme Court Justices deciding the case.  How could these justices actually rule in the upcoming appeal?

“It’s a controversial issue, but it’s an issue that needs to be resolved quickly,” said former Chief Justice Jack Holt Jr.

Holt mentions with the issue being in the public eye, he’s sure the justices know how important their decision is.

“The judges don’t live in a vacuum,” joked Holt. 

Chief Justice Jim Hannah and Associate Justices Donald Corbin, Courtney Hudson Goodson, Josephine Hart, Paul Danielson, Karen Baker and Cliff Hoofman are those deciding judges.  Holt says since they don’t live in a “vacuum”, not cut off from the rest of the world, these justices are bound to have an opinion.

“They have some, I don’t know what level, some preconceived notion,” commented Holt.

Dr. Jay Barth, professor of politics at Hendrix College, seems to think those preconceived notions the justices might have might be pro-same-sex marriage, citing the court’s history.

“Over the last few years, while the Arkansas Supreme Court has never dealt with this specific issue of course, they have dealt with other LGBT issues,” said Barth.

Barth mentioned three cases in recent history, the overturn of a ban on sodomy, reversing the state’s stance on same-sex couples fostering or adopting children and most recently the issue of child custody allowing same-sex cohabitation to go on while a child is in that parents custody.  All those rulings overturned previously anti-gay legislation.  The judges that remain on the court and voted in those past cases all voted pro-LGBT.

The justices could vote pro-LGBT again in this case because out of the seven justices, only two are up for reelection in November – not much to lose.  Several will face retirement as well when they reach the age of 70.

“Most of these justices who are on the present court really are never going to face the voters again so [they] maybe liberated in some ways from the possibility of being attacked in the future on the issue,” said Barth.

Justice Holt said these justices could recuse themselves from the case if they felt too compelled one way or another, but Barth mentioned he doesn’t believe any of the justices will actually do that.