Lavenski Smith

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Lavenski Smith
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit
Assumed office
July 19, 2002
Appointed by George W. Bush
Preceded by Richard Arnold
Personal details
Born (1958-10-31) October 31, 1958 (age 55)
Hope, Arkansas, U.S.
Alma mater University of Arkansas, Fayetteville

Lavenski R. Smith (born October 31, 1958 in Hope, Arkansas) is a federal judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. He was nominated to that court by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2001 and was confirmed by the United States Senate on July 15, 2002 by voice vote.[1]

Education and career[edit]

Smith, a lifelong Arkansan, was a native of Hope, graduating from Hope High School. He received both his B.A. and his J.D. from the University of Arkansas.[2]

Before joining the federal bench, Smith worked in both private practice and public service. Notably, he was a Commissioner on the Arkansas Public Service Commission from 1997-1999 before Governor Mike Huckabee appointed him Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court to serve out the remainder of retired Justice David Newbern's term from 1999-2000. He ran for an open seat on the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2000 but was defeated in the general election. He was then re-appointed to the Arkansas Public Service Commission in 2001, where he was serving a six-year term until his appointment to the Eighth Circuit. Smith has also been an assistant professor at John Brown University as well as Executive Director of the Rutherford Institute.[2]

Smith's appointment to the Eighth Circuit was opposed by Alliance for Justice, NARAL, the National Abortion Federation, and Planned Parenthood.[3] The National Council of Jewish Women also opposed the nomination, stating, "The information that has come to light on Commissioner Smith's record of hostility toward reproductive freedom, as well as his notable lack of experience dealing with cases involving federal constitutional issues, leads us to conclude that his nomination should not be confirmed."[4] Despite those groups' opposition, the Senate confirmed the appointment by voice vote without the Democrats trying to stop it.


Legal offices
Preceded by
Richard Arnold
Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit