Justice Rhonda Wood announces for Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice

by Roby Brock ([email protected]) 1,149 views 

A second member of the Arkansas Supreme Court has declared she will run for the Chief Justice seat. Justice Rhonda Wood announced Wednesday (May 10) that she would be a candidate for the post in the 2024 election cycle.

“From 2007 when I was first appointed to the trial bench by then Governor Mike Huckabee and through four elections by the people of Arkansas, I have consistently pledged to follow the rule of law and be a conservative, nonactivist jurist. Now in my seventeenth year on the bench, I have a proven track record of making tough decisions in the face of immense pressure and always letting the constitution and the rule of law be my guide. I have always understood that Arkansas values a justice that doesn’t legislate from the bench.”

Last week, Justice Karen Baker said she was running for Chief Justice. Current Chief Justice John Dan Kemp is not running for re-election.

“The Chief Justice position is one that comes with immense responsibility, but also opportunity. I’m confident that I have the right experience and judicial temperament to serve in this important role,” Wood said. “As a Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court, I have led countless judicial committees, task forces, and state-wide initiatives for the benefit of all Arkansans. I have also demonstrated that I know how to work as a separate but equal partner with the other branches of government for our common goals. I am the fiscal conservative our judiciary needs to monitor the more than fifty million dollars that flows through the Supreme Court and the Administrative Office of the Courts.”

“It’s critical that our court system serves the people of Arkansas effectively while being good stewards of the precious resources we’re allocated. I would be honored to work with my fellow justices, judges, attorneys, and citizens as Chief Justice. As the only justice with both national training and certification in judicial Strategic Planning, I am uniquely qualified to lead our court as we prepare for the future of the Arkansas justice system,” Wood added.

Wood, 53, was first elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2014 and reelected in 2022. She previously served on the Court of Appeals and as a circuit judge in the 20th Judicial District from 2007-12.

She has served on almost ten Judicial Council committees, chairing many. She has served on Judicial Education for over fifteen years. She is the court’s liaison on Automation and has been their liaison to Court Reporters’ Board and Court Security. She was a nine-year delegate to the Arkansas Bar Association and served on the American Bar Association Appellate Judicial Education Committee for several years. She has chaired the Commission on Children, Youth, and Families since 2014.