Crawford Honors Betty Clark Dickey, Arkansas’ First Female Supreme Court Chief Justice

Apr 02, 2014

In a House Floor speech, U.S. Representative Rick Crawford (AR-1) recently recognized former Lawrence County resident Betty Clark Dickey, who served as Arkansas’ first female Supreme Court Chief Justice.

Clark Dickey—born in Black Rock and raised in Walnut Ridge—received an appointment from former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee in 2004 to occupy the vacant Chief Justice position on the Arkansas Supreme Court, making her the first woman to ever assume the role.

During his speech, Congressman Crawford expressed his admiration for Clark Dickey.

“Mrs. Dickey has not only succeeded professionally, but she’s done it all while raising a family,” said Crawford, referencing Clark Dickey’s rearing of four biological children, one foster child, and 11 grandchildren.

Crawford made the speech in recognition of Clark Dickey and National Women’s History Month, observed during March.

“It’s truly an honor to have such an important contributor to Arkansas history living within the state’s First Congressional District,” he said later.

Clark Dickey started her career in the 1960s as an educator in the Pine Bluff region. She began practicing law in 1985 and has since earned membership to the Arkansas Bar Association, the Texas Bar Association, the Jefferson County Bar Association, and the Pulaski County Bar Association. Clark Dickey was elected as Arkansas’ first female prosecuting attorney in 1995 and served as the first female Chief Legal Counsel to an Arkansas governor in 2003. She has also received several prestigious awards, including “UAPB Agent of Change,” “Attorney General Top Prosecutor,” and “Arkansas Business Top 100 Women.”

Clark Dickey’s son, Ted Dickey, called his mother “a high achiever.”

“My mother has never been afraid of big things,” Ted said, “and it’s extra special to see your mother achieve those goals. If there’s a way I can best summarize her, it’s she embodies love and justice simultaneously.”

The role of women on Arkansas’ Supreme Court has expanded greatly in recent years. Beginning in 2015, the High Court will have its first female majority with the addition of Judge Rhonda Wood, who is running unopposed for Position 7 on the Court. Justices Courtney Hudson Goodson (Position 3), Josephine L. Hart (Position 4), and Karen R. Baker (Position 6) already serve on the Court.

Crawford said he’s amazed at the progress a little more than a decade after Clark Dickey took the position of Chief Justice.

“With Arkansas having its first Supreme Court female majority in 2015,” Crawford said, “it further cements Dickey’s status a pioneer in a multitude of areas in our state.”

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