Committee blocks damaging appellate court districting bills

Wednesday, the Alabama Senate Judiciary Committee “carried over” by voice vote legislation opposed by the Alabama Civil Justice Reform Committee, which would have altered the method of electing appellate judges from at-large to districts. The Alabama Retail Association is a member of the ACJRC. Since the Judiciary committee will not meet again during this session, the bills are dead for this year and would have to be reintroduced in 2023.

SB287 and SB279 by Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, would have created appellate districts using the current State Board of Education Districts. The Alabama Supreme Court chief justice would have run statewide and each associate justice by district.

The presiding judges of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals and Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals would have to run statewide with the other four judges on each court from districts comprised of two State Board of Education Districts.

ACJRC opposed the legislation because assigning geographic districts from which appellate judges would be elected would give each judge a constituency to which he or she would be accountable. That proposition runs counter to fair and impartial justice for all.

This article is part of the Alabama Retail Report, a communication for Alabama Retail Association members. Not a member? Join us!