The Arkansas Judicial Discipline and Disability Commission today said it had dismissed an anonymous complaint about a report that state Sen. Jason Rapert had talked to Justice Cliff Hoffman and perhaps other Supreme Court members about the pending same-sex marriage case.
Hoofman disqualified himself from hearing the case after the discussion and a special justice, Robert McCorkindale, was appointed to replace him. Arguments in the appeal are scheduled Nov. 20.
Rapert confirmed talking to Hoofman, but said if the marriage case was mentioned, it was only in passing. He said he’d talked on occasion with rising Justice Rhonda Wood and Chief Justice Jim Hannah, but said he couldn’t recall if the marriage case had been mentioned at all in this conversations. He said he was aware that justices were limited in what they could say about pending cases. Rapert is a foe of same-sex marriage and has talked about retaliation — such as impeachment or recall — against judges who overturn the state bans.
A letter to Hoofman from David Sachar, director of the Commission, said there was no indication that Hoofman or anyone else on the Supreme Court “initiated or allowed any continuing communication on the matter.”
The letter continued:
“Your recusal suffices to cure any potential appearance of impropriety from the conversation in question.” [Sachar’s letter didn’t identify Rapert by name.]
The investigation initiated by the complaint did not reveal or find any evidence of judicial misconduct, wrongdoing or incapacity within the Commission’s jurisdiciton. As a result of that finding, there is insufficient cause to proceed and the complaint is dismissed.”