There will be a race for both open seats on the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Minutes before today’s 3 p.m. filing deadline, Little Rock lawyer Clark Mason filed for the Position 5 seat also being sought by Shawn Womack of Mountain Home. They present a sharp choice. Mason, who grew up in El Dorado, is a trial lawyer and has written on the subject of personal injury cases. He’s been an supporter of the advocacy group for nursing home patients. Womack has long carried the tort reform agenda for business interests in Arkansas — aiming to limit the ability to seek damages in court, particularly against nursing homes. Womack, a Republican senator, also has staunchly conservative, including anti-gay, social views.
Mason’s arrival prompted another potential candidate, Brooke Ware, to step back from the filing table. Ware is a law clerk for Judge Mike Reif. She has been interested in making a judicial race and was prepared to make this one until Mason appeared. He brings financial resources of his own.
The seat is open because of the retirement of Paul Danielson.
The retirement of Chief Justice Jim Hanah also created the need for an election for that seat. Justice Courtney Goodson and Judge Dan Kemp have filed for that seat.
If outside groups don’t spend heavily in this race, I’ll be surprised.
From Mason’s news release:
Mason has over 30 years of experience representing small businesses, large corporations and individuals throughout Arkansas.
“I have a unique perspective on the law from representing companies, farmers and individuals from all walks of life. I am running for the Arkansas Supreme Court because Arkansans need someone who understands the law, follows the law and practices the law working for the people of Arkansas,” said Mason. “I have hands-on experience in the courtroom representing our citizens.”
In addition to his leadership and dedication to our Civil Justice System, Clark recognizes the obligation and benefits of giving back to the profession and our community. Clark was appointed by Governor Mike Beebe as a Special Associate Justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court. He has served the legal community in many capacities, including President of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association. He is a member of the Lawyer Pilots Bar Association and lectures for Arkansas lawyers in continuing legal education seminars. He is past chairman and current commissioner on the Arkansas Aeronautics Commission, serves on the board of the Ronald McDonald House and volunteers transporting critically ill patients to doctors’ appointments for Angel Flight.
Clark is running for the Supreme Court because he believes the Arkansas Supreme Court must always be a place where the Constitution is respected, the rule of law carries the day, and the rights of all Arkansas citizens remain foremost. The decisions of the court have a real impact on the everyday lives of families and business owners across our state, and Clark believes Arkansans deserve a Supreme Court that reflects our common sense, our values, our generosity, and our approach to life.
Clark has always had a love for aviation and has been a licensed pilot for over 25 years. Mason resides in Little Rock with his wife Janell, they have three adult sons. He an Arkansas native and received his law degree from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and is a graduate of the University of Mississippi.