Gov. Sanders appoints Cory Cox to Arkansas Supreme Court for LEARNS case

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,957 views 

Gov. Sarah Sanders on Wednesday (July 19) appointed Cory Cox to the Arkansas Supreme Court for the LEARNS Act case that recently appointed Justice Cody Hiland recused from.

Hiland announced last week that he would not hear the case. Though he did not disclose his reasoning, he had previously served as the chairman of the Republican Party of Arkansas and had advocated for the LEARNS Act, Gov. Sanders’ signature education overhaul legislation.

A lawsuit has challenged its constitutionality primarily based on a separate voting requirement for the measure and its emergency clause. Ruling in favor of the plaintiffs in the case, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herb Wright decided the LEARNS Act will not go into effect until Aug. 1. Wright ruled the Arkansas legislature violated the state Constitution by not properly passing an emergency clause. Attorney General Tim Griffin appealed the ruling to the Supreme Court where it is now being considered.

Hiland had been appointed to fill out the term of former Justice Robin Wynne, who passed away in June.

Cox, who lives in Perryville, is a former chief of staff to then-Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. Cox also served as legislative director at the Attorney General’s office.

He began his career as assistant legal counsel to former Gov. Mike Huckabee before being promoted to deputy chief counsel. Under Huckabee, he formulated policy and legislation, served on the Criminal Code Revision Commission, the Arkansas Crime Information Center Steering Committee and as legislative counsel to the governor during the 2003 regular session. Cox was previously appointed as director of the Criminal Investigation Division of the Arkansas Insurance Department.

Cox was also once a partner in the law firm of Hiland, Thomas and Cox from 2009 until 2011, when he began serving under Commissioner of State Lands John Thurston as staff attorney and legislative affairs liaison. In 2014, he was named managing attorney for the Arkansas Department of Human Services Division of Policy and Legal Services.

He is a graduate of Arkansas Tech University and obtained his juris doctor from the University Of Arkansas William H. Bowen School of Law.