Arkansas Supreme Court
Judicial Selection Method: Election (Nonpartisan)
7 Justices
8 year terms
State High Court Judicial Selection Process Legal Authority

  • Candidates are placed on primary election ballots, listed as nonpartisan judicial candidates.
  • The candidate who receives the majority of votes is elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
  • If no one receives a majority, the two candidates with the highest number of votes contest for the seat in a run-off election, held during the November general election.

Interim Vacancies

  • Vacancies are filled by appointment of the Governor, unless the voters provide otherwise in a system of merit selection.

    Docket Watch

  • Arkansas Supreme Court Clarifies Standard for Awarding Punitive Damages

    On December 8, 2011, the Supreme Court of Arkansas affirmed a jury’s award of approximately $5.98 million in compensatory damages and $42 million in punitive damages against a developer of genetically modified rice found to have negligently allowed the rice to contaminate the national rice supply.1 Specifically, the court held that (1) the statutory cap on punitive damages was unconstitutional under the state constitution, (2) the economic-loss doctrine did not bar the claims, (3) the trial court did not abuse its discretion by admitting expert testimony on future damages, and (4) the developer failed to preserve its argument that the punitive damages were grossly excessive.

  • Arkansas Supreme Court Strikes Down Ban on Adoption by Unmarried Cohabitating Couples

    In a unanimous opinion handed down on April 7, 2011, the Arkansas Supreme Court invalidated—on state constitutional right-to-privacy grounds—a ban on adoption and foster parenting by unmarried adults who cohabitate with sexual partners.1 Although the law applied to both heterosexual and homosexual couples, the decision has captured public attention largely because of its implications for the latter group.2 This article briefly describes the law, the suit leveled against it, and the Arkansas Supreme Court’s decision in Arkansas Dep’t of Human Services v. Cole.

  • Judicial Election

    Judges are elected by popular vote.
  • Democratic Appointment

    Judges are appointed directly by a democratic body, or appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of some democratic body.