Robert L. Brown (Arkansas)

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Justice Robert L. Brown served as an Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court.


Brown was born in Houston, Texas on June 30, 1941, received a B.A. in 1963 from the University of the South (Sewanee), magna cum laude, where he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa. Justice Brown received his M.A. in English and Comparative Literature in 1965 from Columbia University, and a J.D. in 1968 from the University of Virginia. He was admitted to the Bar of Arkansas in 1968. Before serving on the court, he was engaged in the general practice of law. He also was a deputy prosecuting attorney for the Sixth Judicial District in 1971 and 1972, worked in Washington, D.C. as administrative assistant for Congressman Jim Guy Tucker in 1977 and 1978. He was legal aide to then Governor Dale Bumpers from 1972 to 1974, and served as a legislative assistant for him from 1975–77, after Bumpers's election as Senator. Brown served as Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court from 1991 through 2012. Currently, Brown is Of Counsel to the Little Rock, Arkansas, law firm of Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP.[1]

Significant Opinions[edit]

Among his most significant opinions are those striking down term limits for United States Senators and Representatives, U.S. Term Limits, Inc. v. Hill, 316 Ark. 251, 872 S.W.2d 349 (1994), which was affirmed by the United States Supreme Court in 1995,[2] and his 2002 opinion holding public school funding for the State of Arkansas unconstitutional, Lake View Sch. Dist. No. 25 v. Huckabee, 351 Ark. 31, 91 S.W.3d 472 (2002), and the subsequent cases enforcing the decision.[3][4][5] In 2011, Justice Brown authored the decision in Arkansas Dept. of Human Services v. Cole, 2011 Ark. 145, 380 S.W.3d 429, which declared that the Arkansas Adoption and Foster Care Act of 2008 placed an unconstitutional burden on the fundamental right of privacy found in the Arkansas Constitution. [6]

Legal Scholarship and Literary Works[edit]

Brown is the author of a number of articles including

  • "Toxic Judicial Elections: A Proposed Remedy", Arkansas Lawyer, Winter 2009;
  • "Live Video of U.S. and State Supreme Court Oral Arguments: Is it Just a Matter of Time?'", The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, Spring 2007;
  • "From Earl Warren to Wendell Griffen: A Study of Judicial Intimidation and Judicial Self-Restraint", UALR Law Review (2005);
  • "Expanded Rights Through State Law: The United States Supreme Court Shows State Courts the Way", The Journal of Appellate Practice and Process, Fall 2002;
  • "From Whence Cometh Our State Appellate Judges: Popular Election Versus the Missouri Plan", UALR Law Journal, Winter 1998;

He also wrote "The Second Crisis in Little Rock: A Report on Desegregation Within the Little Rock Public Schools" (Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Publisher, June 1988), and "Defining Moments: Historic Decisions by Arkansas Governors from McMath through Huckabee", published by the University of Arkansas Press in 2010.

Professional activities and awards[edit]

During his time as an Associate Justice, Brown served as the court liaison to the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program, the Civil Practice Committee, and the Board of Law Examiners. From 2002 to 2004, he served on the Board of the Arkansas Judicial Council.

He was the recipient of the Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of the South (Sewanee) in 2006, the Col. Ransick Award for Excellence in the Profession from the Arkansas Bar Association in 2007, and the Community Support Award from the Arkansas Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program in 2010. He served on the Board of Regents of the University of the South (Sewanee) from 1989 to 1995 and as president of the Overton Inn of Court from 1999 to 2000. He currently serves on the Selection Committee for the Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series, and the Selection Committee for the Jefferson Scholars nominations for the University of Virginia.


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ Washington Post Jun 21, 1994
  3. ^ KAIT8 November 21, 2002
  4. ^ Boston Globe Dec. 16, 2005
  5. ^ KAIT8 MAY 31, 2007
  6. ^ [2]