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Appeals Court's Hixson announces reelection bid

by Rachel Herzog | July 1, 2021 at 3:18 a.m.

Arkansas Court of Appeals Judge Kenneth Hixson, who will have served 10 years on the bench at the end of his current term, announced his reelection bid Wednesday.

Hixson, 65, was first elected in 2012 and served for two years, then was elected to his current eight-year term in 2014.

He was elected to the seat held by Judge W. Douglas Martin, who was appointed by then-Gov. Mike Beebe to fill the seat left vacant by Courtney Rae Hudson after she was elected to the state Supreme Court.

His seat is District 3, Position 2, which covers Benton, Washington, Madison, Crawford, Johnson, Franklin and Carroll counties. Hixson lives in Fayetteville.

Hixson said in an interview Wednesday that his love of the work motivated him to seek another term.

"It's a great job, very satisfying. It feels like giving back," he said.

He said he was unsure if the race would draw other candidates, but he touted his experience.

Hixson will have written nearly 600 opinions and participated in more than 2,000 decisions by the end of this term, according to a news release. He said his time on the Court of Appeals taught him to appreciate the time it takes for the court to arrive at its decisions.

"This is the court of last resort for most litigants, I do not take that responsibility lightly," he said in the release.

"Every litigant deserves the full attention of the appellate courts. Justice cannot be rushed."

He added that not only must the court make the correct decision, it must be careful not the violate the doctrine of stare decisis, the legal principle of following precedent, and at the same time be careful on how the language in the court's opinions can be used as precedent in the future.

Before he was elected, Hixson spent about 30 years practicing law in Fayetteville, which included a lot of trial work, he said.

He has been an adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where he earned his law degree, for about five years, teaching a class on trial law for third-year students.

Hixson has been married to his wife, Jan, for 38 years. They have two adult sons, Bill and Joe.

The nonpartisan judicial election and partisan primary election is May 24, 2022, according to the secretary of state's office.

The Arkansas Court of Appeals is the state's intermediate appellate court, responsible for reviewing lower court decisions. Its judges are paid $179,123 annually. The court's chief judge is paid $181,855 a year.

The court is made up of 12 judges who serve staggered eight-year terms.

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