On January 10, 2017, I attended the Arkansas Supreme Court swearing in ceremony for Chief Justice John Dan Kemp, and Justice Shawn Womack. Chief Justice Kemp’s comments have been posted to the Arkansas Supreme Court website and can be found by clicking here.
In preparing for attending his swearing in, and as President of the Arkansas Bar Association, I wrote comments to Chief Justice Kemp. Those comments are set out here.
“Your swearing in is a landmark event for our state and will usher in a new era punctuated by your remarkable strength of character.
Our democratic system depends upon all three branches functioning within the proper spheres and subject to the checks and balances put into place by our founding fathers. The legislative branch makes the law, the executive branch enforces the law, and the judiciary applies the law by following the rule of law.
The rule of law requires that everyone must be governed by the same laws which are applied fairly, consistently, and equally to all regardless of race, gender or wealth. It means as you assume this role which brings you honor, it also brings with it great responsibility. You do so with much aforethought and soberness.
I trust that you do so with prayer and faithfulness which are part of your core values. So, I offer prayer for you that you wear the armor of a warrior to protect against injustice and that you also take up the staff of a shepherd as you lead this court. That you will be gifted with discernment and measured judgment.
My hope for our legal profession is that each of its members respect the Court, the justices that serve and that we will be encouragers who uplift you as you assume this role and the challenges of leadership.
My prayer for the Association is that we discharge our mission of protecting the Court and the fair administration of justice. The Association stands ready to work alongside of you at your direction. I speak for its 5,600 members in assuring you of our commitment to work at the will of the Court. I also speak on behalf of the Association in expressing what a great honor it is to be at your service.
May god bless you and this honorable Court.”
Denise Reid Hoggard
President, Arkansas Bar Association