Arkansas Supreme Court

Jacqueline Froelich / ARKANSAS PUBLIC MEDIA

Seven months after the Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Fayetteville's LGBT-inclusive civil rights ordinance did not comport with state law, a lower court must now decide if that law is even constitutional.

In Washington County Circuit Court before Judge Doug Martin, lawyers on both sides argued over discovery motions and the right to stay administration of Fayetteville's civil rights ordinance and enforcement commission. In place for two years, the ordinance was established explicitly to protect LGBT residents and visitors from discrimination -- because state law does not. 

Bobby Ampezzan / Arkansas Public Media

  This legislative session, 15 Republican state senators and more than 50 representatives signed onto Senate Joint Resolution 8 — a referendum for voters in 2018 that would cap lawyer fees and plaintiff awards in civil lawsuits. It would also circumscribe the powers of the state Supreme Court.

  If SJR8 by state Senator Missy Irvin (R-Mountain View) sounds familiar it’s because it was nearly on the ballot last year as Issue 4. The state Supreme Court struck it down just before the election. 

Yang family

The Arkansas Supreme Court ruled Thursday to send a case against the city of Little Rock's 911 and Metro EMS services to trial court.

The decision was based on the city's failure to adequately prove and document its insurance policy to a lower court, thereby voiding its claim to sovereign immunity, which would protect it from civil suits.

Tim McKuin

The Arkansas Supreme Court heard a case Thursday that may foreshadow legal battles over LGBTQ protections between state and local governments nationwide.

A 2015 state law banned anti-discrimination ordinances on any basis not already included in Arkansas law. Now lawyers for the state are suing the City of Fayetteville to invalidate its municipal ordinance protecting LGBTQ citizens.

Oral arguments on both sides pivoted on what constitutes an existing protected class in the state constitution.

Focus Features

Little Rock director Jeff Nichols’ new movie “Loving” opens statewide this weekend. It’s based on the love story of Mildred and Richard Loving, an interracial rural Virginia couple whose marriage became the basis of a 1967 Supreme Court decision that struck down all laws prohibiting interracial marriage or mingling.

Nichols has said his own experiences attending Central High School formed some of his connection to the material. He formed some more connection when he got a call from Martin Scorcese, as he told Deadline in an interview:

“I grew up in Arkansas, and I went to Little Rock Central High, which was the site of a desegregation crisis in ’57. I graduated in ’97. So I was inundated with Civil Rights history and impact, but I’d never heard of Mildred and Richard Loving before. As uninspiring as this sounds, I got a call from my agent, who said that Martin Scorsese wanted to speak with me. He had been kind of a shepherd of this project and wanted to see it made into a narrative film.”

The third leading cause of death in the U.S. after heart disease and cancer is medical errors, a set of Johns Hopkins University researchers concluded in a paper published this spring in The BMJ. So how much should we be able to sue for our pain and suffering when doctors make mistakes, and should the state legislature get to decide?