Arkansas Gov. Sarah Huckabee Sanders has made history once again in her state. Sanders appointed Cody Hiland to the state Supreme Court on Monday, shifting it to the right for the first time.
That’s noteworthy because Arkansas was the last southern state to turn red; former Democratic President Bill Clinton was governor there in the late 1980s and early 1990s, as well as state attorney general.
“State Republicans last year elected the 51-year-old Hiland as chairman of the state party. From 2017 to 2020, he served as U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of Arkansas following his appointment by then-President Donald Trump,” the Western Journal reported. “Hiland also served as legal counsel for the Arkansas Department of Public Safety and prosecutor for the 20th Judicial District of Arkansas.”
He was also active in Sanders’ successful gubernatorial campaign when she became the state’s first female governor.
Today, I appointed former prosecutor and U.S. attorney Cody Hiland to the Arkansas Supreme Court — marking the first time the Court will have a conservative majority,” the governor tweeted Monday.
“Cody brings decades of legal experience to the job — and I am confident he will serve our state well,” she said.
Sanders appointed Hiland following Justice Robin Wynne’s recent passing from leukemia at the age of 70.
Arkansas U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton (R) said Hiland’s appointment was “an outstanding selection” in a tweet.
“Cody Hiland is a good friend who is fair, impartial, and will apply the law without favor,” he noted. “A great day for Arkansas.”
Arkansas Attorney General Tim Griffin described Hiland as “an outstanding appointment.”
“Congratulations to Associate Justice Cody Hiland! Cody’s experience as a U.S. Attorney and many years of both public service and private practice will serve him well on the Arkansas Supreme Court. He is an outstanding appointment!” he tweeted.
Last month, Sanders vowed to fight back after a federal judge appointed by Barack Obama struck down a state law aimed at regulating transgender treatment, including sex-change surgeries for children.
In citing U.S. District Judge James M. Moody Jr.’s ruling, the freshman GOP governor and former Trump White House press secretary slammed him for “pushing a political agenda at the expense of our kids” after he blocked the Save Adolescents From Experimentation (SAFE) Act from taking effect.
“Rather than protecting children or safeguarding medical ethics, the evidence showed that the prohibited medical care improves the mental health and well-being of patients and that, by prohibiting it, the state undermined the interests it claims to be advancing,” he wrote in his ruling.
But Sanders and other state Republican officials pushed back, claiming that the judge’s decision was political, not science- or healthcare-based.
“This is not ‘care’– it’s activists pushing a political agenda at the expense of our kids and subjecting them to permanent and harmful procedures,” Sanders said. “Only in the far-Left’s woke vision of America is it not appropriate to protect children.
She added: “We will fight this and the Attorney General plans to appeal Judge Moody’s decision to the Eighth Circuit.”
Griffin noted as well: “I am disappointed in the decision that prevents our state from protecting our children against dangerous medical experimentation under the moniker of ‘gender transition.’ Unfortunately, Judge Moody misses what is widely understood across the United States and in the United Kingdom and European countries: There is no scientific evidence that any child will benefit from these procedures, while the consequences are harmful and often permanent. I will continue fighting as long as it takes to stop providers from sterilizing children.”
The state plans to appeal to the Eighth Circuit Court, where 10 of the 11 judges were appointed by Republican presidents.