Free Speech

Arkansas Prior Restraint Saga—One Court Says Yes, One Says No

I'll grant Justice Courtney Goodson's request to block ads that allegedly libel her during her reelection campaign, says one trial judge. Unconstitutional prior restraint, says another.

|The Volokh Conspiracy |


Monday, Judge Doug Martin issued a temporary restraining order—an unconstitutional prior restraint, I argued—ordering TV stations not to run the ads critical of Justice Goodson. Wednesday, he recused himself, because his wife had a business relationship with Justice Goodson's husband. Judge Mackie Pierce was appointed to hear the case instead.

Today, Judge Chris Piazza issued a similar temporary restraining order, barring the ads from running in a different part of the state. But also today, Judge Pierce granted a TV station's request to dissolve Judge Martin's order. So Judge Piazza's order is in effect in one part of the state, but Judge Martin's order has been vacated in the other. I don't know if TV stations are going to the Arkansas Court of Appeals or the Arkansas Supreme Court to get the new order vacated. I'll post the judges' orders when I get them.