ARKANSAS: State Supreme Court Rejects Recusal Request On Marriage Case

Citing a right wing legislative campaign to recall or impeach any pro-gay judge, last month the plaintiffs in an Arkansas marriage suit asked state Supreme Court justices who plan on running for re-election to recuse themselves from the case. Today the court rejected that request.

The request cited legislative action that could raise questions about impartiality of judges hearing the case. This referred to passage of a Legislative Council resolution by Sen. Jason Rapert, a foe of same-sex marriage. The resolution, which was hand-delivered to the Supreme Court, said the legislature would pursue legislative remedies to prevent the popular will from being thwarted by “judicial activism.” Legislators have said this could include proposing for the ballot a judicial recall mechanism in 2016. Some legislators have also talked of impeachment of judges who ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. Two of the court’s seven justices — Donald Corbin and Cliff Hoofman — are not seeking election and will leave the court at the end of the year. Three judges, Chief Justice Jim Hannah and Justices Paul Danielson and Jo Hart, are considered unlikely to seek office again because of a state law that requires judges to forfeit retirement benefits if they seek election again after age 70. But they could run.

(Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)