Leon Holmes is a former federal judge, serving on the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Arkansas from July 19, 2004, until September 30, 2019. He resigned his commission in February 2020.
Prior to his nomination by President George W. Bush, Leon was a partner with Quattlebaum Grooms & Tull. His practice encompassed a wide range of litigation from personal injury and products liability cases to a variety of complex business cases, including antitrust, securities fraud, common-law fraud, breach of contract, interference with contractual relations, and unfair competition. Leon regularly represented newspapers and other media entities in defamation, First Amendment, and Freedom of Information Act litigation.
As a former law clerk for Justice Frank Holt of the Arkansas Supreme Court, Leon developed a significant appellate practice. For several years, he made an annual CLE presentation on handling appeals in Arkansas, and he was the Editorial Board Chairman of the handbook, Handling Appeals in Arkansas (Arkansas Bar Association: 1998). He has been appointed to sit as a Special Associate Justice of the Arkansas Supreme Court three times.
In addition to his legal career, Leon has been a member of the faculties of Thomas Aquinas College in Santa Paula, California, and Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, as well as a visiting professor at Wyoming Catholic College in Lander, Wyoming.
University of Arkansas (J.D., summa cum laude, 1982)
First in graduating class
American Bar Association Law Student Division Moot Court Competition
First Place – University of Arkansas
First Place – Region
Tenth Place – Nation
Duke University (Ph.D., Political Science, 1980)
Dissertation: What Shall We Be? A Study of the Political Thought of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B. DuBois, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Phi Beta Kappa
Shell Award for Outstanding Graduate Work
Northern Illinois University (M.A., Political Science, 1976)
Arkansas State University (B.A., with Special Distinction, Political Science, 1973)
Outstanding Political Science Student, 1973
“We Hold Three Truths: A Constitution Day Cerebration,” The Arkansas Lawyer (Summer 2021).
“From Valley Forge to Appomattox: George Washington and the Formation of the American Nation,” The Aquinas Review, Vol. 23 (2019-20).
The Cross My Only Hope, Createspace.com (2016).
“Doing Discovery Right,” Judicature (Summer 2015).
“Ethics, Legal Ethics, and the Classical Tradition,” Arkansas Law Review Vol. 67, No. 2 (2014).
“On What It Means to be a Lawyer of Faith,” UALR Law Review, Vol. 31, No. 2 (Winter 2009).
“In Defense of Cephalus,” The Aquinas Review, Vol. 13 (2006).
“From Aristotle to Jefferson: Christianity and the Separation of Church and State,” Catholic Social Science Review, Vol. VIII (2003) (with Jeremy R. Holmes).
“Catholic Social Thought and the American Regime” (Symposium Contributor), The Catholic Social Science Review, Volume VI (2001).
“The First Vatican Council,” The Arkansas Catholic (February 3, 2001).
“Clothed With the Sun,” Homiletic and Pastoral Review (January 2001).
“The Reformation,” The Arkansas Catholic (December 2, 2000).
“Moses, Elijah and the Garden of Eden,” The Aquinas Review, Vol. VII, No.1 (2000).
“The Rise of Scholasticism,” The Arkansas Catholic (September 2, 2000).
“Pitfalls of the Appellate Practice: Avoiding the Serbonian Bog,” The Arkansas Lawyer (Summer 2000).
Editorial Board Chairman, Handling Appeals in Arkansas (Arkansas Bar Association: 1998).
“Civil Liability of Bank Directors,” The Arkansas Community Banker (Winter 1997).
“Solomon and Elijah,” The Aquinas Review, Vol. III, No. 1 (1996).
“Booker T. Washington: Freeing the Spirit for Service,” Christianity Today (October 2, 1981).
Center Point Perpetual Care Cemetery Corporation, Board of Directors
The Arkansas Lawyer Editorial Board, Past Member
Arkansas Right to Life, Inc., Past President
Florence Crittenton Home of Little Rock Board of Directors, Past Member
The Unborn Child Amendment Committee, Co-Founder and Past Board of Directors Secretary
Amendment 68 (The Unborn Child Amendment) to the Constitution of Arkansas, Co-Author
Red Mass Committee of The Diocese of Little Rock and the Arkansas Bar Association, Chairman (1999)
Arkansas Bar Association
Pulaski County Bar Association
Saint Thomas More Society of Little Rock
National Lawyers Association
Christian Legal Society
Sidney S. McMath Award for Integrity, Honor, Civility, and Professionalism, Pulaski County Bar Association (2019)
Federal Judge of the Year, Pulaski County Bar Association (2010, 2012, 2018, and 2019)
The Maurice Cathey Award for Outstanding Contribution to The Arkansas Lawyer (2004)
Best of CLE, Arkansas Bar Association (1998, 2000, 2001, and 2002)
Mary Rose Doe Award, Arkansas Right to Life (1999)