Final Judgment Entered Against Arkansas Petition Law

Thu, Apr 10 2014 by Neal Hobson

Arkansas Circuit Court Judge Mary McGowan issued a final judgment striking down a myriad of provisions in Act 1413 as unconstitutional violations of the rights of Arkansas citizens to petition their government. Her decision, a major victory for petition rights, will likely now be appealed by the Arkansas Attorney General.

Back in early March, Judge McGowan granted plaintiffs’ motion for a preliminary injunction blocking enforcement of numerous challenged provisions, after a hearing where Citizens in Charge President Paul Jacob testified as an expert witness for the plaintiffs. Plaintiffs then asked that the extensive two-day hearing serve as a trial on the merits, which was not objected to by the defendant, the Secretary of State, or by the Attorney General, an intervenor in the case.

Though an appeal is deemed likely, the injunction against all the law’s challenged elements is now permanent.

The case, Spencer v. Martin, was brought by two activists, Paul Spencer and Neal Sealy, and supported by the Arkansas ACLU and the Arkansas Public Law Center. Mark Martin, the Arkansas Secretary of State was sued in his official capacity.

A copy of the final judgment is here.