After missing the past couple of Madison County Republican breakfasts because of travel, I attended Judgefest yesterday.
Recently appointed Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Chuck Malone was the featured speaker. Attendees included: Court of Criminal Appeals Judges Liles Burke and Mike Joiner; Circuit Court Judges Dennis O’Dell, Alan Mann, and Ruth Ann Hall; District Court Judges Dick Richardson and Alison Austin, Madison County Circuit Court Clerk Jane Smith; prospective District Court Judge appointees Jonathan Pippin and Robert Rodgers; plus District Judge candidates Chris Messervy and Don Rizzardi.
I listed the judges to illustrate how completely the people of Alabama have entrusted the judiciary to Republicans. Consider that before 1994, no Republican held a statewide judicial seat (since Civil War Reconstruction). Now every statewide judge is a Republican, furthermore, every State office is held by Republicans except Public Service Commission President Lucy Baxley (D). The Republican Revolution is transforming the State at the County office level too. Madison County Republicans won every office on the ballot in 2010. Their rejection at the polls helps explain why Democrats push for unelected judicial selection instead of election by citizens.
More notes from the meeting…
Chief Justice Malone was Chief of Staff to Governor Dr. Robert Bentley before his appointment to the Alabama Supreme Court. Malone and Dr. Love have served as church Deacons together since the 1970s. Malone was welcomed with a standing ovation. Here are some highlights of his speech:
Speaking of a judge’s responsibility for fairness, Malone said “I’ve locked people up then sat next to their grandmother at church”.
“Judges that serve are the gatekeepers to our Constitution”
“Treat people with respect”
“Worst thing is… for victims to become victims of our system”
“Do what’s right and what’s just”
“God judges me for what I do”
“The law must be followed”
“Educating people on how important it is for the judicial system to be adequately funded”
“Never sacrifice justness and fairness because the money’s running low”
Marian Accardi of The Huntsville Times wrote “New Alabama Chief Justice Chuck Malone sees changes coming for courts”:
“I have a vision for the Administrative Office of Courts and courts throughout the state.”
…He’s in the process of getting input on that vision from state legal and budget personnel, the presidents of Alabama’s Circuit Judges Association, District Judges Association, Bar Association and Clerk Association as well as presiding judges, probate judges and clerks.
“There will be some changes in the court system that I believe will help the court system.”
…”We’ve got some serious things we’ve got to address.”
…”I believe I came into this position with all the tools” to uphold the Alabama and U.S. Constitutions and laws, Malone said. He had his own law practice for 20 years in Tuscaloosa, and represented a mix of individuals and businesses. He was elected a Tuscaloosa County circuit judge in 2000 and then re-elected in 2006. In 2003 and again in 2010, he was elected to serve as the presiding judge.
Peterson says “the Public Service Commission can help” Alabama “by working as an advocate to get the federal government off our backs”.
“Less federal regulation = more jobs for Alabamians.”