Gavel Grab

Voters Elect Two for AR Supreme Court in $1.6 Million Election

Circuit Judge Dan Kemp defeated Justice Courtney Goodson in the race for Arkansas Chief Justice on Tuesday, and Circuit Judge Shawn Womack defeated attorney Clark Mason for another seat on the Arkansas Supreme Court.

Justice at Stake said total documented spending rose to at least $1.6 million, making this the second most costly judicial race in Arkansas history.

“The high spending, out-of-state money and harsh attack ads we’ve seen in this year’s Arkansas Supreme Court race make it the latest example of some of the worst trends in judicial elections across the U.S.,” said Susan Liss, JAS executive director. “We know that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans believe that money spent in judicial elections has an effect on courtroom rulings. It’s time for reforms that break the link between special interest money and the way our judges are selected.”

The Associated Press reported, “Outside Groups’ Spending Pays Off in Arkansas Court Races.” The AP said outside spending “overwhelmed” both races, as the Judicial Crisis Network purchased TV ads critical of Goodson and the Republican State Leadership Committee, ads critical of Mason. The two outside interest groups spent at least $779,780, the sum for the TV advertising they purchased, according to JAS.

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