The Associated Press reports that Supreme Court Justice Courtney Goodson will seek another term as associate justice.

She was defeated two years ago in a race for chief justice by Dan Kemp. The race was race marked by huge sums of dark money spent on both sides, with some particularly vicious advertising hitting Goodson.


Goodson didn’t speak to the AP. The confirmation came from her campaign consultant Keith Emis, a Republican consultant with ties to Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

The filing period for judicial candidates (apart from those submitting petitions) is from Feb. 22-March 1. The election is May 22, with a runoff in November if necessary.


Goodson has been involved in one fashion or another in a court that has been roiled with controversy due to strange handling of the same-sex marriage case,  extraordinary intervention in death penalty matters and personal factions that have so bitterly set some justices against each other that they stopped having their usual weekly conferences in person, doing them by teleconference instead.

Goodson is married to John Goodson, a lawyer whose firm has given heavily to Supreme Court candidates. He’s made significant sums in class action lawsuits and is a member of the UA Board of Trustees. Expensive gifts she received from him before they were married following divorce of her first husband figured in some of the advertising against her in the Kemp race.


She has no announced opposition. David Sterling, legal counsel for the Department of Human Services who was defeated in a Republican primary race for attorney general with Leslie Rutledge four years ago, is reportedly interested. That could be interesting in its own right. To give you some idea, Sterling played up his Federalist and Christian Legal Society ties in his race against Rutledge. (UPDATE: He confirmed to the Democrat-Gazette late Monday that he was running.)

His job is the wrinkle. Consider this policy on state employee participation in the electoral process

The Office of Personnel Management policy carries a variety of warnings about state employee participation in politics. It’s legal, but it must be on personal time, for example. And much of the directive concerns partisan races. Judges run as non-partisan candidates (though it has become practice to send signals about affiliation, as the Emis association does). But the policy also says this:

In addition to these prohibitions established by Arkansas law and by administrative policy, there are other specific limitations which apply to employees whose salaries are either partially or totally paid from federal funds. These rules are established by the Federal Hatch Act

Most of the budget of DHS flows from federal Medicaid money.


Goodson, as yet, has reported no fund-raising for this race.