Judges

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Entries - Entry Category: Judges - Starting with J

Jesson, Bradley Dean

Bradley Dean Jesson was a lawyer and political activist who became chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. In the historic school-funding case Lake View School District No. 25 v. Huckabee, Jesson played a pivotal role in settling the long legal battle to reform the funding and supervision of Arkansas public schools so that they served all children equally and adequately. Jesson, who practiced law at Fort Smith (Sebastian County) and who was known for his dignified and courteous manner as well as for his legal scholarship, first came to prominence as a confidant and adviser for Governor Dale Bumpers. Bradley D. Jesson was born on January 26, 1932, in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, the son of Dean Abraham Jesson, who was …

Johnson, Cecil Ernest

Cecil E. Johnson practiced law in southwestern Arkansas for much of his life, except for fourteen years in the judiciary—four of them during the depths of the Great Depression, when he was chief justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court. Johnson had no formal education beyond high school but was admitted to the bar at the age of twenty-three after studying under an attorney. He was elected chancery judge at the age of thirty-three, appointed chief justice at the age of forty-five, and elected as chief justice a year later. Cecil Ernest Johnson was born on July 26, 1888, in Lockesburg (Sevier County), one of four children of John Frank Johnson and Martha Adelia Collins Johnson, who were farmers. He was …

Johnson, Glenn T.

Glenn T. Johnson was a trailblazing judge in the latter half of the twentieth century. Born in Arkansas, he spent most of his professional life in Illinois, serving in a number of public positions in a career dedicated to public service. Johnson was inducted into the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame in 2006. Glenn T. Johnson was born in Washington (Hempstead County) on July 19, 1917, to Floyd Johnson and Reola Thompson Johnson. As the family moved around the state, he received his early education Washington, then Hope (Hempstead County), and finally Hot Springs (Garland County), where he graduated from Langston High School. Johnson earned a BS from Wilberforce University in Ohio, graduating in 1941. After college, he served in …

Johnson, James Douglas “Justice Jim”

James Douglas “Justice Jim” Johnson served as an Arkansas state senator and an associate justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court in the 1950s and 1960s. He was an outspoken segregationist and ran unsuccessfully against Orval Faubus for governor in 1956. In the 1966 race for Arkansas governor, he became the first Democrat since Reconstruction to lose to a Republican. Johnson helped to make school desegregation a major political issue in the state by protesting the integration of the Hoxie School District in Hoxie (Lawrence County), as well as by working to get an anti-federalist amendment added to the state constitution. Jim Johnson was born on August 20, 1924, in Crossett (Ashley County) to T. W. Johnson and Myrtle Long Johnson, …

Jones, James Fred

J. Fred Jones was a farmer, laborer, lawyer, and populist politician who aspired to be a justice on the Arkansas Supreme Court and made it in 1967 after his third race for the position. His ten years on the bench, begun as he approached retirement age, were marked by sympathy for underdogs, workers, and educators. He found that the law nearly always sided with them rather than their adversaries.  James Fred Jones—he went by “J. Fred”—was born on January 12, 1907, on a Ouachita Mountain farm near Mount Ida in Montgomery County. His children described his childhood home as so remote and untamed that a mountain lion once crashed through the roof of the house. His parents were Ira S. Jones and Ella Tyler Jones.   Jones attended Montgomery County’s rural schools and …