Judicial Candidates

Supreme Court of Arkansas | Position 3

Courtney Goodson


Telephone: 501-590-0511
Email: courtneyforar@gmail.com
Date of Birth: 7/7/1972
Place of Birth: Lawton, OK
Marital Status: Married; 1 son, 2 daughters
Religion/Denomination: Brand New Church, Farmington, AR
Previous Elected Office: Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge
Current Elected Office: Arkansas Supreme Court Justice, Pos. 3
Occupation: Arkansas Supreme Court Justice, State of Arkansas
Law School Attended & Graduation Date: University of Arkansas School of Law – May 1997
Where Employed as an Attorney: Arkansas Court of Appeals
Legal Specialties: Appellate Law
Additional Biographic Information

1. Which one of the U. S. Supreme Court Justices most reflects your judicial philosophy?

John Roberts

2. What is the proper role of the court for which you are seeking office?

The role of the Arkansas Supreme Court is to uphold the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Arkansas. The Court is tasked with interpreting the law without creating public policy. Under no circumstances should a judge engage in judicial activism. The Arkansas Supreme Court should be a place where the rule of law is upheld and the constitution honored.

3. Of the decisions you have made while serving as a judge or cases you have litigated as an attorney, which best reflects your judicial philosophy?

As a judge, I am a strict constructionist. I am committed to the rule of law and to the doctrine of stare decisis. I cannot highlight any particular decisions, as I strive to consistently apply my judicial philosophy to each case before me. I am always mindful that each case that I decide has the potential to affect the daily lives and businesses of Arkansans.

 

Kenneth Hixson


Telephone: 479-236-5480
Email: kshixson1556@gmail.com
Date of Birth: 3/15/1956
Place of Birth: Fort Smith, AR
Marital Status: Married; 2 sons
Religion/Denomination: 1st Baptist Church – Fayetteville
Current Office: Court of Appeals
Occupation: Court of Appeals
Law School Attended & Graduation Date: U of A – Fayetteville, 1982
Where Employed as an Attorney: Jones and Hixson – ’82–’94; PAM Transport General Counsel ’94–’04; Hixson and Daniels
Legal Specialties: Counseling and Litigation
Additional Biographic Information

1. Which one of the U. S. Supreme Court Justices most reflects your judicial philosophy?

Since the passing of Justice Scalia, it is difficult to pick one justice that best reflects my judicial philosophy. My judicial philosophy is simple: we, as a court, owe it to the litigants to decide his/her case solely on the merits of the case and not based on any outside or personal principles or ideologies.

2. What is the proper role of the court for which you are seeking office?

On the surface, this appears to be an easy question. Fundamentally, I do not believe in judicial activism and recognize that it is the legislature that writes laws. Going deeper however, it’s important to point out that we live in a representative democracy. The legislature is intended to be a representation of its districts. When I ran for the Arkansas Court of Appeals in 2012, I discovered broad-based voter apathy across my district. Many citizens expressed to me they felt disenfranchised with the then-current state of affairs. In meeting people across the state over the past few weeks, I again am sensing that frustration and apathy. It is critically important in our form of government that a district elects legislators that share its views so that the legislator can propose and enact laws that are consistent with his/her constituents. That brings me back to the question: What is the role of the courts? Our mandate is to interpret the laws passed by the legislature; not create laws. I would interpret the laws from an originalist point of view. If a citizen is unhappy with the law(s), I would encourage him/her to contact their local legislator. We, as a court, should be reviewing the laws to determine whether they pass constitutional muster; and not, to insert our personal views and ideals into the case.

3. Of the decisions you have made while serving as a judge or cases you have litigated as an attorney, which best reflects your judicial philosophy?

Justice Scalia said it best: “If you’re going to be a good and faithful judge, you have to resign yourself to the fact that you’re not always going to like the conclusions you reach. If you like all of them all of the time, you’re probably doing something wrong.” I have written around 350 opinions over the past 5+ years. I cannot point to any one case that “best reflects my judicial philosophy.” All of my opinions are available at the Arkansas Judiciary website. Having said that, I can tell you that my judicial philosophy is to set aside my personal opinions, pray for wisdom and decide each case on its own merits. That is what every Arkansan deserves.

 

David Sterling


Telephone: 501-416-1693
Email: david@votedavidsterling.com
Date of Birth: 3/18/1969
Place of Birth: Roswell, New Mexico
Marital Status: Married; 1 daughter
Religion/Denomination: Fellowship Bible Church – Little Rock, AR
Occupation: Arkansas Department of Human Services – Chief Counsel
Law School Attended & Graduation Date: William H. Bowen School of Law, 1997
Where Employed as an Attorney: DHS; Cox, Sterling, McClure, & Vandiver, PLLC; Barber, McCaskill, Jones, & Hale, PA; Allen Law Firm
Legal Specialties: Business and Commercial Litigation
Additional Biographic Information

1. Which one of the U. S. Supreme Court Justices most reflects your judicial philosophy?

Neil Gorsuch

2. What is the proper role of the court for which you are seeking office?

As stated by U.S. Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, I also believe that “Judges should be in the business of declaring what the law is using the traditional tools of interpretation, rather than pronouncing the law as they might wish it to be in light of their own political views.” … [O]ur legal order it is for Congress and not the courts to write new laws. It is the role of judges to apply, not alter, the work of the people’s representatives.”

3. Of the decisions you have made while serving as a judge or cases you have litigated as an attorney, which best reflects your judicial philosophy?

I served as co-counsel successfully cutting off Planned Parenthood as a Medicaid provider in Arkansas. My judicial philosophy is one of judicial restraint, originalism and textualism. I believe that judges are not policy-makers and should never legislate from the bench. That philosophy is reflected in Does v. Gillespie, 867 F.3d 1034, 2017 U.S. App. LEXIS 15453, 2017 WL 3496164, in which I represented, along with the Arkansas Attorney General’s office, the Arkansas Department of Human Services in successfully defending the decision of the Arkansas Department of Human Services to terminate its Medicaid provider agreements with Planned Parenthood of Arkansas and Eastern Oklahoma after the release of controversial video recordings involving other Planned Parenthood affiliates. In its decision, the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in favor of DHS, using traditional methods of statutory interpretation to determine that Congress never intended to create a private right of action under the Medicaid Act for Planned Parenthood’s patients to challenge DHS’s termination of those provider agreements. In the opinion, Judge Steven Colloton quoted Justice Antonin Scalia’s writings on the subject: “Perhaps no interpretive fault is more common than the failure to follow the whole-text canon, which calls on the judicial interpreter to consider the entire text, in view of its structure and of the physical and logical relation of its many parts.” Antonin Scalia & Bryan A. Garner, Reading Law: The Interpretation of Legal Texts 167 (2012). “The proper inquiry is whether Congress intended to create an enforceable federal right when it enacted the specific provision in question. Congressional intent or meaning is not discerned by considering merely a portion of a statutory provision in isolation, but rather by reading the complete provision in the context of the statute as a whole.”