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Arkansas Supreme Court

Coordinates: 34°44′42.6″N 92°17′27.5″W / 34.745167°N 92.290972°W / 34.745167; -92.290972
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Supreme Court of Arkansas
34°44′42.6″N 92°17′27.5″W / 34.745167°N 92.290972°W / 34.745167; -92.290972
EstablishedJanuary 13, 1836
(188 years ago)
LocationLittle Rock, Arkansas
Coordinates34°44′42.6″N 92°17′27.5″W / 34.745167°N 92.290972°W / 34.745167; -92.290972
Composition methodNon-partisan election
Authorized byConstitution of Arkansas
Appeals toSupreme Court of the United States
Judge term length8 years
Number of positions7 (by statute)
Chief Justice
CurrentlyJohn Dan Kemp
SinceJanuary 1, 2017 (2017-01-01)

The Supreme Court of Arkansas is the highest court in the state judiciary of Arkansas. It has ultimate and largely discretionary appellate jurisdiction over all state court cases that involve a point of state law, and original jurisdiction over a narrow range of cases. The Supreme Court holds the power of judicial review, the ability to invalidate a statute for violating a provision of the Arkansas Constitution. It is also able to strike down gubernatorial directives for violating either the Constitution or statutory law. However, it may act only within the context of a case in an area of law over which it has jurisdiction.

The Superior Court of the Arkansas Territory was established in 1819. It consisted of three judges, and then four from 1828. It was the highest court in the territory, and was succeeded the Supreme Court,[1] established by Article Five of the 1836 Constitution, which was composed of three judges, to include a chief justice, elected to eight-year terms by the General Assembly. As later set by Act 205 of 1925, it consists of the Chief Justice of Arkansas and six associate justices.[2] The Supreme Court currently operates under Amendment 80 of the Arkansas Constitution. Justices are elected in non-partisan elections to eight-year terms, staggered to make it unlikely the Court would be replaced in a single election.[2] Mid-term Vacancies are filled by gubernatorial appointment.[2]

Each justice has a single vote in deciding the cases argued before the Court.[2]

The Court meets in the Supreme Court Building in Little Rock, Arkansas.



There are currently seven justices on the Supreme Court: Chief Justice Dan Kemp and six associate justices.

Position Name Born Joined Term ends Appointed by Law school
1 John Dan Kemp, Chief Justice (1951-09-08) September 8, 1951 (age 72) January 1, 2017 2024 [a] Arkansas
3 Courtney Rae Hudson 1973 (age 50–51) January 1, 2011 2026 [a] Arkansas
6 Karen R. Baker 1963 (age 60–61) January 1, 2011 2030 [a] UA Little Rock
7 Rhonda K. Wood (1969-12-10) December 10, 1969 (age 54) January 1, 2015 2030 [a] UA Little Rock
5 Shawn Womack (1972-08-13) August 13, 1972 (age 51) January 1, 2017 2032 [a] Arkansas
4 Barbara Womack Webb 1956 or 1957 (age 66–67) January 1, 2021 2028 [a] Arkansas
2 J. Cody Hiland 1972 (age 51–52) July 3, 2023 2024 Sarah Huckabee Sanders (R) UA Little Rock
  1. ^ a b c d e f Took office after being elected in a nonpartisan election.

Further reading

  • Distinguishing the Righteous from the Roguish: The Arkansas Supreme Court, 1836–1874 by J. W. Looney, 2016, University of Arkansas Press


  1. ^ Hempstead, Samuel H. (1856). Hempstead's Reports. p. iii-iv.
  2. ^ a b c d Justices of the Arkansas Supreme Court from the official Arkansas Judiciary website