Jul 28, 2022 - Politics

Diversity in the Arkansas high court

Collage illustration of Lady Justice.
Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Arkansas' Supreme Court doesn't reflect the state's ethnic makeup, but it roughly represents the number of women who live in the state.

Why it matters: State high courts rule on crucial cases ranging from how people can vote to whether district lines are gerrymandered to when women have legal access to abortion.

  • With the Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade last month, some activists see state supreme court elections this November as one of the last firewalls to protect abortion access, Axios' Stef W. Knight writes.

By the numbers: Four of the seven-member Arkansas Supreme Court judges are women — 57% — while almost 51% of the state's population is made up of women.

  • Gender equity among Arkansas judges is better than the national rate (41%). Nine states have just one woman serving on their respective supreme courts.
  • There are no judges of color in Arkansas' highest court.
  • People of color comprise roughly one-third of Arkansas' 3 million residents.

The bottom line: As of May 18, just 18% of state high court justices were Black, Latino, Asian Amer­ican, Native Amer­ican or multiracial — compared to more than 40% of the U.S. population.

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