Arkansas Supreme Court Justice Karen Baker, who has announced she will seek the Chief Justice position, said her experience makes her the most qualified to lead the court.
Baker, who appeared on this week’s edition of Capitol View, is running against another announced candidate, Justice Rhonda Wood, for the Chief Justice spot occupied by Arkansas Supreme Court Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, who is not running again.
“I think our court is in transition at the moment,” Baker said. “Every time you add another person to the mix or add two to the mix, it takes awhile to adjust that… We are a terribly young court compared to other courts across the country. And, I think that I have the most – well, no, I know that I have the most experience. I have 30 years on the bench, almost 30, so I think that I am the person to help the court through this transition.”
Baker was first elected to the Arkansas Supreme Court in 2010. After starting in private practice, Baker served as a District Circuit/Chancery Judge for nearly five years before serving 10 years on the Arkansas Court of Appeals.
She said as Chief Justice she planned to be diligent in working with the administrative aspects of the state’s court system in all 75 counties. She wants to ensure good relations with district and circuit judges throughout the state.
Baker shared a humorous story of when she first took a judicial seat in Conway many years ago. The previous judge had taken his furniture with him as he personally owned it. When Baker went to replace the furniture, she went to a local store and purchased her desk from newly named Supreme Court Justice Cody Hiland.
“I had to get a new desk and I went shopping in Conway and Cody was selling furniture at that time,” she said.
Hiland, who recused on Friday (July 14) from hearing the LEARNS Act lawsuit, was named to the Arkansas Supreme Court by Gov. Sarah Sanders to fill the vacancy created by the death of Justice Robin Wynne.
You can watch Baker’s full interview in the video below.