New justice on Arkansas Supreme Court won’t participate in case over education law

A justice who Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders appointed to the Arkansas Supreme Court won’t participate in the case regarding Sanders’ education overhaul.

Justice Cody Hiland on Friday recused from hearing the state’s appeal of a judge’s ruling that the education overhaul can’t take effect until Aug. 1. Pulaski County Circuit Judge Herbert Wright ruled that legislators did not follow correct procedures for the law to take effect immediately after Sanders signed it.

Hiland, a former state Republican Party chairman and federal prosecutor, did not give a reason for recusing from the case. Sanders earlier this month appointed Hiland to fill the vacancy created on the seven-member court following Justice Robin Wynne’s death.

The court has granted the state’s request to expedite the case, but set an Aug. 18 deadline for final briefs to be filed.

The education measure Sanders signed in March creates a new school voucher program and raises minimum teacher pay. The case before the Supreme Court stems from a lawsuit challenging a contract approved under the law for a charter school group to run an east Arkansas school district.