(December 2, 2003) - (Little Rock-AP) -- Arkansas will be without a Supreme Court Justice as of the first of the year. Chief Justice W-H Dub Arnold announced yesterday that he would step down as presiding judge of the Arkansas' highest court on January First. Governor Huckabee says that he will appoint a replacement for Arnold to serve through next year, with a new chief justice elected in the November 2004 general election. That judge will serve out the four years remaining on Arnold's term. The sixty-eight year-old judge from Arkadelphia has served as chief justice for seven years. He said he wanted to leave the Supreme Court now while he was in good health, and to give prospective successors time to run campaigns prior to next May's primary elections. Arnold said he planned to resume practicing law or teach and, as a retired judge, accept assignments to hear cases as a special jurist. Huckabee said he would move quickly to find a replacement because of the quote "urgent and complicated issues facing the Supreme Court."