RANDY ZOOK, INDIVIDUALLY AND ON BEHALF OF ARKANSANS FOR COMMON SENSE TERM LIMITS, A BALLOT QUESTION COMMITTEE PETITIONER
MARK MARTIN, IN HIS OFFICIAL CAPACITY AS SECRETARY OF STATE OF THE STATE OF ARKANSAS RESPONDENT ARKANSAS TERM LIMITS, A BALLOT QUESTION COMMITTEE INTERVENOR
Friday, Eldredge & Clark, LLP, by: Elizabeth Robben
Murray, Ellen Owens Smith, Joshua C. Ashley, and Allison C.
Pearson, for petitioner.
Kelly, Deputy Secretary of State and General Counsel; and
Michael Fincher, Associate General Counsel, for respondent.
Garrett LLC, by: Edward D. Greim, Alan T. Simpson, and
Garrett W. Hunkins; and Quattlebaum, Grooms & Tull PLLC,
by: Chad W. Pekron and Brittany S. Ford, for intervenor.
DAN KEMP, CHIEF JUSTICE.
original action, petitioner Randy Zook, individually and on
behalf of Arkansans for Common Sense Term Limits, a
ballot-question committee, challenges a proposed initiative
constitutional amendment, known as Issue No. 3, with the
popular name "The Arkansas Term Limits Amendment"
("proposed amendment"). Arkansas Term Limits
("Intervenor"), a ballot-question committee,
sponsored the proposed amendment. Zook seeks to enjoin
respondent, Mark Martin, in his official capacity as
Secretary of State, from placing the proposed amendment on
the November 6, 2018 general-election ballot and from
counting or certifying any votes cast for the proposed
amendment. The petition asserts two bases for relief. Count I
is a challenge to the adequacy of the proposed
amendment's popular name and ballot title, and count II
challenges the petition and signature-gathering process under
which Martin certified the proposed amendment. We granted
Zook's motion to bifurcate the proceedings and appointed
a special master to make findings on count II. See Zook
v. Martin, 2018 Ark. 254 (per curiam). This opinion
concerns count I, which was submitted directly to this court
because a ballot title's sufficiency is decided as a
matter of law. Ross v. Martin, 2016 Ark. 362.
Zook v. Martin, 2018 Ark. 306, also handed down on
this date, we accepted the special master's finding that
there was an insufficient number of signatures to qualify the
proposed amendment for the November 6, 2018 general-election
ballot, and we granted the petition. Our holding in that case
renders count I moot. See Lange v. Martin, 2016 Ark.
363 (stating that an issue is moot when a decision by this
court would have no practical legal effect on a then existing
legal controversy). This court does not decide cases that are
moot, render advisory opinions, or answer academic questions.
See, e.g., Ark. State Med. Bd. v.
Schoen, 338 Ark. 762, 1 S.W.3d 430 (1999). Therefore, we
hold that count I is moot, and we grant the petition.
granted; count I moot.
to issue immediately.
and Hart, JJ., dissent.
R. Baker, Justice, dissenting.
I dissented in Count II in Zook v. Martin, 2018 Ark.
306, handed down today, and would hold that Arkansas Term
Limits submitted a sufficient number of signatures for its
proposed amendment to appear on the November 2018 ballot, I
dissent from the majority opinion holding Count I moot.
Rather than hold the petition moot, I would reach the merits
of Count I. Accordingly, I dissent.