ARKANSAS: State Supreme Court Justice Recuses Himself From Marriage Case

Citing a right wing legislative campaign to recall or impeach any pro-gay judge, last month attorneys for the plaintiffs in the Arkansas marriage equality case asked state Supreme Court justices who plan to seek reelection to recuse themselves from hearing the appeal of their win in a lower court. Last week the state Supreme Court rejected that request, but yesterday one justice decided to recuse himself even though he isn’t running for reelection.

Supreme Court Justice Cliff Hoofman has recused from considering the appeal of Judge Chris Piazza’s decision striking down the state’s constitutional and statutory ban on same-sex marriage. Hoofman is not an elected member of the court, however. He was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to complete an unexpired term when Robert Brown retired. He leaves the court at the end of the year. Court of Appeals Judge Rhonda Wood will replace him. She has run for office repeatedly as a “values” and “conservative” judge and used her ties to Republican politicians such as Mike Huckabee, who has been harshly critical of Piazza’s ruling. The appellant (state) brief in the case is due Sept. 15. The plaintiffs in the case then will have 30 days to respond. Then 15 days is allowed for a reply brief. Oral arguments can be requested and judges generally take a couple of weeks to rule after arguments. Extensions can be requested. The case, then, likely won’t be decided until at least in November.

As the bolded portion indicates, this isn’t a good thing. (Tipped by JMG reader Lulu)