Rutledge Issues Statement on SCOTUS Washington Florist DecisionMon, Jun 25, 2018
Says, ‘Freedom of speech and religious conscience rights of citizens are protected by the Constitution’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge released the following statement after the Supreme Court of the United States remanded Arlene’s Flowers Inc. v. Washington, the case of a Washington florist named Barronelle Stutzman, to the Washington State Supreme Court for further consideration.
“The freedom of speech and religious conscience rights of citizens are protected by the Constitution and must be protected by the courts,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “That is why I led a 14-state amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Stutzman and I hope the Washington State Supreme Court will protect those rights in light of the recent ruling in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission.”
Rutledge, along with Texas, led a 14 state coalition in filing an amicus brief to the U.S. Supreme Court in support of Stutzman in 2017 and also led a coalition in support of the florist in the Washington State Supreme Court in 2016
Stutzman declined to create a floral arrangement for and oversee its placement at a same-sex wedding based on her religious beliefs. She was subsequently sued by the State of Washington under its discrimination law and unfair business practices act, despite referring the longtime customer to other florists. Stutzman has served this particular client for years, considered him a friend and remains willing to serve him in the future. She simply believes based on her religious beliefs that she could not participate in, and use her artistic talents to create a flower arrangement for, the same-sex marriage.
The Washington State Supreme Court maintained that flower arrangements are not speech and that her referral to other florists was irrelevant. The 72-year-old grandmother, who is defending against this legal action, now faces fines and legal fees estimated at $2 million, which could put her out of business.
Rutledge: 16th Annual Arkansas Law Enforcement Summit Early Registration and Officer of the Year Nominations OpenFri, Jun 22, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the 16th Annual Law Enforcement Summit is scheduled for October 2 and is open for early bird registration. The Attorney General is also accepting nominations for the 2018 Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. This year, Utah Attorney General Sean Reyes will be speaking to participants on his efforts to fight human trafficking. The annual summit is a free training and educational opportunity for Arkansas’s law enforcement community. To accommodate the popularity of the program, the event has changed locations and will be held this year at the Benton Event Center in Benton.
During the luncheon, Attorney General Rutledge will recognize one law enforcement official from all 75 counties in the state. Qualified candidates will have performed admirably in the line of duty within the last year. Nominations will be accepted from police chiefs, county sheriffs, county judges, mayors, prosecutors and other State law enforcement leaders from across Arkansas. The Attorney General will also select the overall Arkansas Outstanding Law Enforcement Officer of the Year. The deadline for nominations is Tuesday, August 21.
“Our men and women in blue risk their lives on a daily basis to protect and serve our communities,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “It is my duty as the state’s chief law enforcement officer to not only provide leadership, but to honor and acknowledge those in the line of duty for their dedication and service. I always look forward to this widely attended event to directly convey my appreciation to law enforcement statewide.”
The full schedule and list of speakers will be announced at a later date. This Summit is expected to qualify for Continuing Law Enforcement Education (CLEST) training. The Summit is FREE, but seating is limited. Early registration is now open.
Rutledge Elected NAAG Southern Region ChairThu, Jun 21, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced today that she has been elected chair of the Southern Region of the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG).
“It is an honor to represent Arkansas as the chair of the Southern Region,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The National Association of Attorneys General is a great resource for all attorneys general across the country to collaborate on issues such as deceptive trade practices, the opioid epidemic and human trafficking.”
Rutledge also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.
Rutledge to Host Agriculture Technology & the Law Summit August 15 & 16Wed, Jun 20, 2018
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced a partnership with the National Association of Attorneys General (NAAG) and the National Agricultural Law Center to host the Agriculture Technology & the Law Summit: Advancing American Agriculture on August 15 and 16 in Little Rock at the Statehouse Convention Center. The two-day educational event will bring together public and private legal experts and agriculture industry representatives to address unique legal and policy questions.
“The agriculture community has a done a great job of adapting with rapidly advancing technology to meet growing consumer demands,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But as farmers and ranchers have safely and successfully advanced productivity, the regulatory and judicial processes have sometimes thwarted and often stalled the development of new avenues for food production. As the co-chair of the NAAG Agriculture Committee, gathering industry leaders and legal experts is an important step towards a better understanding for agriculture policy, which is the backbone of this country.”
Forums will include discussions with Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and Arkansas Secretary of Agriculture Wes Ward on topics such as big data, unmanned vehicles, biotechnology, global theft of intellectual properties, pesticide regulation, rural broadband and more. Summit attendees have been approved to receive 12 hours of general Continuing Legal Education credit including 2 hours of Ethic/Professional Education credit in Arkansas. Register here for the Agriculture Technology & the Law Summit.
Rutledge Welcomes Summer Session I Law ClerksTue, Jun 19, 2018
Says ‘Law clerks are a valuable asset to the State’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge welcomed a new class of law clerks for the first summer session to the Attorney General’s office. These law students work in various departments assisting with legal research, drafting memos and legal documents and accompanying lawyers at trials, client meetings and hearings.
“The law clerk program exposes students to the fulfilling experience of public service,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Law clerks play a valuable role for the State which this program uses to foster relationships with burgeoning attorneys and provide an opportunity for students to experience a great service-learning environment as they work closely with some of Arkansas’s top attorneys.”
Brad Aldridge, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Criminal Department. He received a Bachelor of Science degree in applied mathematics from Baylor University in 2015. Aldridge is from Little Rock and graduated from Bryant High School in 2011.
Krystina Barner, a second-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Medicaid Fraud Control Unit. She graduated from the University of Arkansas in 2014 with a double major in political science and criminal justice. Barner is from Little Rock and graduated from Little Rock Central High School in 2010.
Connor Herrold, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Public Protection Department. He graduated from Hendrix College in 2016 with a degree in English Literature. Herrold is from Hot Springs, and graduated from Lakeside High School in 2012.
Julia Stover, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the Civil Department. She graduated from the University of Arkansas with a double major in criminal justice and sociology in 2016. Stover is from Texarkana, Texas, and graduated from Pleasant Grove High School in Texarkana, Texas in 2013.
Jordan Sumler, a third-year student at the University of Arkansas School of Law, is clerking in the State Agencies Department. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with a degree in English in 2015. Sumler is from Cabot and graduated from Cabot High School in 2012.
About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge
Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge serves as Chairwoman of the Republican Attorneys General Association and Vice Chairwoman of the National Association of Attorneys General Southern Region. She also re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.
A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.
Rutledge Leads States in Amicus Brief in Title VII CaseWed, Jun 13, 2018
Says, ‘Judges should apply the law as written’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge led a coalition of seven states in filing an amicus brief in support of Midwest Geriatric Management, LLC arguing that the courts may not unilaterally rewrite and expand Title VII. The brief argues that, because Congress has chosen not to extend Title VII protection to sexual orientation, the courts may not do so on their own.
“It is my duty to protect the separation of powers written in the Constitution,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Judges should apply the law as written by the people’s representatives in Congress and should not add to or ‘creatively apply’ the law because they believe a different law should have been written and applied. Regardless of whether one thinks Congress should extend discrimination protection to sexual orientation, Congress has clearly chosen not to do so dozens of times. We must stand for the rule of law in all cases, not simply the easy ones.”
Arkansas is joined in the amicus brief by Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota and Texas.