Shepherd files proposed constitutional amendments

Among the five proposals submitted ahead of Wednesday’s deadline, Rep. Matthew Shepherd (R-El Dorado) included one that would redefine Arkansas Supreme Court positions as appointed rather than elected seats.

If passed HJR1005 would alter the Arkansas Constitution to allow the governor to appoint the seven justices to the Supreme Court. The court of appeals judges, however, would remain elected positions.

According to the proposal, “When a vacancy in the position of Justice of the Supreme Court occurs or is certain to occur, the Judicial Nominating Commission shall choose and submit to the Governor and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court three nominees, each of whom has previously notified the commission in writing that he or she will serve as a Justice of the Supreme Court if appointed.”

If the governor fails to appoint a nominee within 60 days, the decision then reverts to the chief justice.

Other bills filed by Shepherd include HJR1011, HJR1012, HJR1013 and HJR1014, all of which are shell bills — with details to be filled in at a later time — and deal with the judicial department, the Supreme Court and civil litigation.

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