Date of Award


Document Type



Political Science

First Reader

Dr. Hal Bass

Second Reader

Dr. Randall Wight

Third Reader

Dr. Lori Hensley


The world of politics entails a large variety of men and women from diverse backgrounds. Politicians range from mayors of local cities and state representatives to Congressmen and presidents. One other group that I consider to be included under the realm of politicians are those that serve in the judicial branch of the United State government. While Judges may not be labeled Republican or Democratic, the political backgrounds of appointees are some of the driving forces to decide who serves on the bench. Studying the judiciary leads to coming across some historical figures that shaped history through the opinions that they wrote during their time of service. It is interesting to see the development of judges and how their past can shape the type of person they become and the decisions they make. The late Richard S. Arnold is no exception to that description. Arnold was a man who was shaped and molded by his upbringing to have certain opinions, gained freedom through the knowledge he gained in education, and ultimately developed his own opinions that led to influence his decisions while serving on the federal court of appeals for the Eighth Circuit from 1980 to 2004.


The topic of this paper was chosen based on a discussion between my thesis director, Or. Hal Bass, and myself. I told Dr. Bass that I was at a loss of ideas on what to do my senior thesis on. I told him that I was interested in doing something that had to do with law. After some discussion he presented Richard Arnold to me. I did not know who Arnold was at first but quickly learned about him. Being from Texarkana, it was very interesting to see how Arnold grew from his roots there to eventually be a highly distinguished federal judge.



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