VOTE 2024 | Arkansas Supreme Court Associate Justice, Position 2

(Stock image)
(Stock image)

COURTNEY HUDSON

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

When I was six years old, a good judge allowed my stepfather to legally adopt me. I was given a new last name, a complete family, and a fresh start. I know firsthand the impact of a good judge, and in turn, I want to ensure that every litigant in court benefits from the goodness of the law. I think about this every time I put on my robe.

My experience serving as a Justice on the AR Supreme Court for thirteen years distinguishes me from my opponent. The Rule of Law demands predictability and consistency; I can continue to provide that with my track record of upholding the Constitution and doing this very job. People deserve to know what they are getting in a AR Supreme Court Justice. I am the known commodity with a common sense, balanced approach to the law. All of my opinions can be found at arcourts.gov.

How would you summarize the philosophy of jurisprudence that would guide your decisions on the bench?

I strictly construe the Constitution, all of the amendments, and the statutes written by the legislature. The Constitution is my North Star in the courtroom where I defend it from attack and ensure that the Rule of Law carries the day.

If you are elected, what changes or improvements will you prioritize for the court?

Juvenile justice reform is a priority. We must do a better job of reaching troubled teens who are in the court system; what we are doing now is not good enough. If we reach teens early, we can prevent them from living a lifetime of recidivism.

The Court should also continue to upgrade our technology in order to make all levels of court administration more accessible and transparent to the public.

What recent Arkansas Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court rulings do you find especially significant, and why?

In a case that I had to recuse from, The Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas v. Andrews, the Court overturned decades of precedent that had permitted suits against state entities or state officials when they were acting in violation of state laws. Since the Andrews decision, the Court has struggled to redefine the parameters of the sovereign-immunity doctrine.

CARLTON D. JONES

What distinguishes you from your election opponent(s)?

My experience as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney, and as an elected Prosecuting Attorney who has tried over 100 jury trials and thousands of other hearings. Since taking the bench in 2015, I have presided over additional trials and complex hearings. I am an instructor for the National Judicial College (judges teaching judges) and have served on many committees of the Arkansas Judicial Council and the Arkansas Supreme Court tasked with improvements in our courts.

My election to the Arkansas Supreme Court would be an addition to the court, while my opponent will remain on the court – no matter the outcome of this election.

How would you summarize the philosophy of jurisprudence that would guide your decisions on the bench?

My judicial philosophy is to follow the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Arkansas, and the statutes duly enacted by our legislature – so long as they are not in contravention of our Constitution. A judge should always interpret the laws of our country and our state to provide the greatest protection of the rights and privileges of our citizens. Judges, trial court and appellate divisions, should always seek to ensure that our citizens have received a fair hearing in our courts.

If you are elected, what changes or improvements will you prioritize for the court?

If elected, I would continue to address some of the issues I have begun to work on as a Prosecuting Attorney and as a trial judge. I have served on the Supreme Court Automation Committee, the Judiciary 2025 Committee, and the Criminal Practice Committee (Chair). These committees involve the transition of our state's court to digital filing of, and access to, court documents and records. The electronic filing system has a public facing component (CourtConnect) allowing the public to remotely view court records. Additionally, the use of virtual platforms that allow witnesses, attorneys, and when constitutionally permissible, defendants, to appear remotely. The use of these tools saves travel time and expense for witnesses and attorneys; allows courts to be available to schedule more hearings; and, with criminal defendants, reduces some of the risks of transporting criminal defendants.

What recent Arkansas Supreme Court or U.S. Supreme Court rulings do you find especially significant, and why?

Issued on June 24, 2022 by the United States Supreme Court, the case of Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization is especially significant. Whether one agrees or disagrees with the ruling of the United Sates Supreme Court, the case has greater significance than its holding to those of us who watch the courts of our country. The language used by some members of the U.S. Supreme Court seem to suggest that other issues, which may make it to the Court, will be resolved in the same manner – overruled and returned to the states for a resolution by their respective high courts. Such a turn would lead to some cases that historically had been resolved by the U.S. Supreme Court finding their way into state supreme court courtrooms.

photo JONES
photo HUDSON

Upcoming Events