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State of Arkansas

History of Reform Efforts: Arkansas

Altering Selection Methods

Method of selection and term lengths for judges of the supreme court, court of appeals, circuit court, and district court are prescribed in the Arkansas constitution. Thus, any changes must occur through constitutional amendment. Amendments may be proposed by a majority of the members of each house of the general assembly or by initiative petition signed by 10% of voters. Proposed amendments must then be approved by a majority of voters at the next general election.

Section 18 of the new judicial article provides that the general assembly may refer the issue of merit selection of judges of the supreme court and the court of appeals to the voters at any general election. If the voters approve a merit selection system, the general assembly is authorized to enact laws creating a judicial nominating commission.