NewsEvents

Attorney General Rutledge Asks U.S. Supreme Court to Review Arkansas Law Barring Abortion Based on Down Syndrome

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge filed a petition for a writ of certiorari asking the U.S. Supreme Court to review a decision by the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals that held the Constitution guarantees a right to selective abortion of children with Down syndrome. In January, the Eighth Circuit affirmed a lower court’s order that blocked Arkansas’s law prohibiting abortions that are performed solely on the basis of Down syndrome. Attorney General Rutledge’s petition asks the Supreme Court to reverse the Eighth Circuit.

“The Constitution does not require Arkansas to permit discrimination-by-abortion against Americans with Down syndrome,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Through my personal friendships, I know that while individuals with Down syndrome may have an extra chromosome, they also have extra love and joy they share unconditionally, and I will not stand by while God’s gifts are exterminated as has been done in other countries.”

In 2019, Arkansas lawmakers passed Act 619, the Down Syndrome Discrimination by Abortion Prohibition Act. It prohibits a practitioner from performing an abortion if the woman is seeking the abortion “solely on the basis of” a diagnosis of Down syndrome or any other reason to believe the child has Down syndrome.

Shortly before Act 619 took effect, the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, and O’Melveny & Myers, an international law firm based in California, sued to block it and other laws. The federal district court in Little Rock took their side and ruled that the Constitution guarantees a right to selectively abort children with Down syndrome.

The Eighth Circuit affirmed, because it felt bound by prior decisions that have misinterpreted the Supreme Court’s precedent. Although the Eighth Circuit ultimately ruled against Arkansas, two of the three judges agreed with Arkansas that the Constitution does not guarantee a right to discriminatory, selective abortions. These two judges asked the Supreme Court to correct its precedent.

The case is called Rutledge v. Little Rock Family Planning Services, No. 20-1434. For a copy of the petition, click here.

Rutledge Continues to Defend Arkansans Crushed by President Biden’s Cancellation of the Keystone Pipeline

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge stood proudly today showing her continued support for Arkansas pipeliners and welders, who lost their jobs when President Biden canceled the Keystone XL pipeline permit. President Biden signed Executive Order 13990 on his first day in office, destroying hundreds of Arkansans’ good-paying jobs and jeopardizing the financial stability of countless families during a pandemic. In March, Rutledge and 20 other states sued the Biden Administration. The lawsuit explains the administration’s unilateral action crippled America’s economy, hurt consumers, displaced workers, increased our dependence on foreign energy resources, and ultimately harmed the environment. The complaint also explains that President Biden failed to consult with the states before taking an action that will have far-reaching consequences and sets a dangerous precedent that prioritizes leftists’ agenda over America’s economy.

“With the stroke of a pen, the Biden-Harris Administration eliminated real income for Arkansans and instead gave them an imaginary idea and a future promise of green energy jobs that don’t yet exist,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Just like I did with the Obama Administration, I will stop acts of unlawful federal overreach and political nonsense that has a real and harmful impact on Arkansans."

In February, fourteen attorneys general advised President Biden in a letter that their states were reviewing available legal options to protect their citizens and interests. Since the over-reaching Executive Order was signed, Attorney General Rutledge worked diligently to help Arkansans who have been directly impacted by the Biden Administration’s energy policy.

Rutledge Announces Arrest of a Central Arkansas Man for Cyber Crimes Against Children

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of a Central Arkansas man for crimes related to distributing or viewing child pornography.

Nathan Williams, 55, was arrested on Thursday, April 1, 2021, in North Little Rock by Special Agents with the Cyber Crimes Division of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office and officers with the Austin Police Department. The arrest warrant, signed by Cabot District Court Judge Clint McGue, resulted from the examination of Williams’s phone which contained numerous images of child sexual exploitation material.

Williams was arrested on 30 counts of distributing, possessing or viewing of matter depicting sexually explicit conduct involving a child.

Williams is being held in Lonoke County Jail on $100,000 bond. The Attorney General’s Office will turn over its investigative file to Lonoke County Prosecuting Attorney Chuck Graham.

Rutledge Announces Arrest of Former City of Dermott Employee for Theft at Water Department, First Service Bank

Shamia Jefferson

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced the arrest of former City of Dermott employee Shamia Jefferson. As a Dermott City Hall secretary, Jefferson was in a position of trust, having full and complete access to money paid to the City of Dermott by residents for their water and sewer bills. A 2016 Legislative Audit discovered discrepancies in approximately 100 deposits. Banking records from two financial institutions and documents from the city water department were analyzed indicating numerous unrecorded checks had been deposited to conceal missing cash. The total amount of funds missing was $15,594.00.

Jefferson left her job at the City of Dermott and was employed as a bank teller at First Service Bank from August 2018 to August 2019. An additional investigation and audit was conducted regarding missing money from First Service Bank. As a result, Jefferson was found to have taken money from her cash drawer and falsified a cash transaction ticket.

After extensive and thorough investigations, agents with the Public Integrity Division of the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office sought and received a warrant of arrest for Jefferson. She was arrested and charged with two counts of Theft of Property, a class (C) Felony. Jefferson was also charged with one count of Falsifying a Business Record, a class (A) Misdemeanor. Jefferson turned herself in to authorities in Chicot County on Thursday, April 1.

Attorney General Rutledge Leads 13-State Coalition Suing President Biden to Protect State Tax Cuts

Says, ‘Biden, Harris, and Pelosi don’t have the right to control Arkansas’s tax laws’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge co-led a 13-state, bipartisan coalition in filing a lawsuit Wednesday to protect the well-established authority of states to lower taxes for their citizens. The lawsuit argues that the federal government cannot force states to relinquish control of their taxing authority in return for much-needed economic aid related to COVID-19. The tax mandate provision in the latest COVID-19 spending bill bars states from lowering taxes in exchange for relief funds. The lawsuit explains this is one of the most egregious federal power grabs in the nation’s history.

“President Biden’s latest COVID spending bill blocks our state from reducing Arkansans’ tax burden,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Biden, Harris and Pelosi don’t have the right to control Arkansas’s tax laws and the Constitution does not allow such blatant federal overreach.”

The complaint argues that the tax mandate provision could be used to claw back a share of Arkansas’s stimulus allotment. This creates an impermissible chilling effect on state lawmakers’ willingness to reduce the tax burdens on their citizens.

Before filing this lawsuit, members of the coalition asked U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen to confirm the legislation would not strip states of their taxing authority. However, her response did not place any limits on the vague provision – uncertainty that she admits exists in referring to the ambiguity as a “thorny” issue in testimony to Congress.

Attorneys general filed the lawsuit against the U.S. Department of Treasury, Secretary Yellen and the Department’s Acting Inspector General Richard K. Delmar, who would be responsible for seeking any potential claw back of federal funds.

The lawsuit attacks this unconstitutional exercise of federal power as violating the 10th Amendment, particularly the conditional spending doctrine and the anti-commandeering doctrine.

The attorneys general seek a court order that prohibits enforcement of the federal tax mandate and declares it unconstitutional.

Arkansas co-led the coalition with West Virginia and Alabama with support from Alaska, Florida, Iowa, Kansas, Montana, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota and Utah.

Rutledge Leads 16-State Coalition Supporting the NRA

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge announced that Arkansas is leading an amicus brief joined by 16 State attorneys general supporting the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) efforts to “dump” New York and reorganize in Texas. The brief opposes the New York Attorney General Letitia James’s effort to dismiss the NRA’s chapter 11 petition and recounts New York’s politically motivated attempt in a separate lawsuit to dissolve the NRA. The NRA is the country’s oldest civil rights organization and leading Second Amendment advocacy organization, and James hopes that her attempts to destroy the NRA will undermine Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

“New York’s effort to stop the NRA from reorganizing in Texas is just another chapter in New York’s vendetta against the Second Amendment,” said Attorney General Leslie Rutledge. “I am proud to continue to support the right to keep and bear arms and organizations like the NRA who stand up to defend it.”

In August, Attorney General Letitia James filed a lawsuit in New York state court seeking to dissolve the NRA. Separately, the District of Columbia Attorney General filed an action against the non-profit organization NRA Foundation, but the DC lawsuit tellingly did not seek dissolution.

Subsequently, the NRA responded by suing Attorney General James in New York federal court, explaining that her dissolution lawsuit violated the First Amendment by seeking to punish the NRA for its constitutionally protected Second Amendment advocacy. In December, Attorney General Rutledge filed a 16-state amicus brief supporting the NRA’s lawsuit against James.

In January, the NRA announced that it was “dumping” New York and reorganizing as a Texas nonprofit in order to operate in a state that shares its respect for the Second Amendment. It filed a chapter 11 petition in federal bankruptcy court to begin the process of reorganizing in Texas. The New York Attorney General—not wanting the organization to leave New York—responded by filing a motion seeking to dismiss the NRA’s petition. Arkansas’s amicus brief supports the NRA’s efforts to reorganize and details New York’s history of retaliating against the NRA for the organization’s defense of a fundamental constitutional right. It argues that there is nothing improper about the NRA seeking to leave New York when the state has sought to dissolve it for advocating for Americans’ constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

Rutledge leads the amicus brief and is joined by Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Idaho, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina, South Dakota, Utah, and West Virginia.

May
6
Thursday

FOIA webcast

Arkansas Freedom of Information Act
10 a.m. to noon

The webcast, which is free and open to the public, will include FOIA Made Simple presentations by attorneys in the Attorney General’s office detailing responsibilities and rights covered under the act that relate to public meetings and documents.

Two hours of CLE and CLEST credit have been approved.

Order copies of the 2020 handbook.

REGISTER

 10:00 AMVIEW 
May
20
Thursday

Legal Update for Government Attorneys Webcast

8:15 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
REGISTER

Government attorneys and administrators are invited to participate in this continuing education session. An agenda will be posted at a later date.

Six hours of CLE credit is expected and will include five general hours and one hour of ethics.

 8:15 AMVIEW 
July
22
Thursday

Never Forgotten

8:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Benton Event Center
REGISTER

Never Forgotten eventThis is a special gathering for families and the Arkansas law enforcement community to raise awareness of the issues surrounding missing persons and to recognize Arkansas’s missing. As part of this important event, there will be a morning session for families followed by a luncheon to recognize Arkansas’s missing. Additionally, the event will include all-day training sessions for law enforcement.

For more information, contact Rachel Ellis at 501-682-3645 or rachel.ellis@arkansasag.gov.

Order copies of the Missing Adult Resource Guide online.

Never Forgotten Arkansas Takes Action artwork

 8:30 AMVIEW 
September
2
Thursday

Elder Abuse Conference

8:30 a.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Arkansas State University, First National Bank Arena
REGISTER

Law enforcement, medical professionals, providers, attorneys, home caregivers and general public are invited to participate in this free training to learn how to better protect older and developmentally disabled adults. An agenda will be posted in the coming weeks.

 8:30 AMVIEW 
October
5
Tuesday

Law Enforcement Summit

Law Enforcement Summit

Tuesday, October 5
9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Benton Event Center
REGISTER

This free training will include national leaders on de-escalation, intervention and force mitigation.

Please note that the luncheon to honor officers of the year will now be held on a different date.

For more information, email rachel.ellis@arkansasag.gov.

 9:00 AMVIEW 
November
16
Tuesday

Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit

8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Rogers Convention Center
REGISTER

The Arkansas Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Summit is a free training for law enforcement officers, medical professionals, pharmacists and educators. Members of the public may also participate to hear from experts regarding prescription drug abuse prevention and treatment.

Five breakout tracks will be offered: clinical, criminal justice, family, counseling/recovery and education/prevention.

In addition to the Attorney General’s Office, the Summit is sponsored by the Arkansas Board of Pharmacy, Arkansas Division of Behavioral Health Services, Arkansas State Board of Nursing, Arkansas State Police, Gulf Coast High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas, Office of the State Drug Director, Rotary Clubs of Arkansas, U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Arkansas State Medical Board, University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute, and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock MidSouth School of Social Work.

An agenda will be released closer to the event.

For questions, contact Rachel Ellis at 501-682-3645 or rachel.ellis@arkansasag.gov.

 8:00 AMVIEW 
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