SUPREME TENSION: Internal unhappiness at Arkansas Supreme Court.

The legal community continues to buzz with rumors of tension at the Arkansas Supreme Court.

I’ve written here about numerous reports from well-placed sources on a split on the court regarding the selection of the new Supreme Court clerk and also of the emergence of a robust bloc of decision-makers in the persons of the female justices — Courtney Goodson, who plans a run for chief justice in 2016; Karen Baker, and Jo Hart. Baker reportedly took the lead in forming a four-vote group to overrule the only justice in town, Donald Corbin, and telephone a directive overriding his initial decision not to issue  a stay in Judge Chris Piazza’s same-sex marriage ruling.


The latest news is a report of unhappiness on the court about these leaks and other reports of internal friction, including some sharp personal verbal exchanges. Four well-placed lawyers have related in the last 24 hours that two members of the court wanted to administer lie detector tests to Supreme Court employees to ferret out the source of my reports. The other five opposed mass polygraphs.

Supreme Court conferences are not public meetings. The group’s inner workings are customarily secret. So there is no record of votes in conference apart from what might be indicated on official opinions. Goodson and Baker are the two justices most likely to want to know more about who’s passing along information.