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Banquet

The annual Clinton High School Alumni Banquet is set for 6 p.m. Saturday, April 19, at the Clinton High School cafeteria.

On the ballot

20th Judicial Circuit Judge H.G. Foster of Conway can remain on the May 20 ballot despite several administrative suspensions within the past six years, Pulaski County Circuit Judge Wendell Griffen ruled Tuesday.

As he did in a previous case, Griffen also ruled that a state Supreme Court rule requiring the automatic suspension of lawyers and judges who fail to pay state license fees on time is unconstitutional because it violates their due process rights.

Foster is the latest of several Arkansas judicial candidates to appear in court in the past few weeks to defend against challenges to their qualifications. The cases have resulted in a variety of different rulings on an issue that is expected to reach the state Supreme Court eventually.

Lawyer Doralee Chandler of Conway and Foster are seeking a seat on the 20th Judicial District Circuit Court, which includes Faulkner, Searcy and Van Buren counties. Chandler filed a lawsuit alleging that Foster, who was appointed to a different seat on the 20th Judicial Circuit, should be disqualified because of past administrative suspensions for late payment of license fees.

Amendment 80 to the Arkansas Constitution states that a circuit judge must have been a license lawyer in the state for six years immediately before taking office. At the end of a three-hour hearing Tuesday, Griffen ruled that administrative suspensions do not disqualify a judicial candidate under Amendment 80.

The evidence showed that despite the suspensions, Foster was never unlicensed in the past six years, Griffen said.

“A suspended license is a license. It is not a non-license,” he said.

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