Gov. Asa Hutchinson has appointed Little Rock District Judge Hugh Finkelstein to sit as a special justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court  two lawsuits seeking to have the casino expansion amendment removed from the ballot.

Finkelstein was appointed by Hutchinson to complete the term of a district court vacancy in 2017. He’ll hear two cases — Judith Corinne Stiritz et al. v. Hon. Mark Martin and Jim Knight v. Mark Martin. The first was brought by residents of Jefferson, Garland, Crittenden and Pope Counties against the casino expansion amendment. They cited deficiencies in the ballot title.  The second challenges the amendment’s grant of a monopoly to the casinos.


Chief Justice Dan Kemp recused from the cases. He has not given a reason, but his daughter is a lawyer for a firm defending the amendment.

Correction: My original version said only that Finkelstein had been appointed to one of the cases.