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If alleged wife beating judge Mark Fuller thought Ala. Republicans would stick with him, he was wrong

Judge Mark Fuller in court
Judge Mark Fuller in court

U.S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who was appointed to the federal bench in Alabama’s Middle District in 2002, was arrested in the early morning hours of Aug. 10 after his wife called 911 and told the dispatcher “he’s beating me… please help me.” According to the subsequent police report, Fuller’s wife had lacerations to her forehead and mouth, which she said she received from Fuller throwing her to the ground, pulling her hair and kicking her after she confronted him about and alleged affair.

The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals has reassigned Fuller’s caseload and launched an investigation, and he is now set to enter a pre-trial diversion program. But he has not given any indication to this point that he plans to resign.

One is left to wonder if he assumed that his fellow Republicans, who currently hold the majority in the U.S. House, would turn a blind eye to his alleged indiscretions. The House, after all, is the only body that can actually remove Fuller from the federal bench, and Fuller was a Bush appointee who’s best known for presiding over the case of disgraced former Alabama Gov. Don Siegelman, a Democrat.

If he did think he would get a pass, he was clearly wrong. That became abundantly clear earlier this week when GOP congressman Martha Roby (R-AL2) was the first Republican to mention the possibility of Fuller being impeached.

“This is a very serious matter. Congress enacted a statutory process by which the federal judiciary investigates instances of misconduct that could warrant disciplinary action, including removal from office,” Roby explained. “It is important to allow that process to move forward, ensure all involved are afforded due process and then evaluate what recommendations are made. I will be monitoring those proceedings closely. Ultimately, the Constitution empowers Congress to impeach members of the Judicial Branch for misconduct.

“Domestic abuse cannot be tolerated, explained away or swept under the rug. It must be confronted head on, and abusers must be held accountable. Our sons and daughters are paying attention, and how our society handles this moment matters a great deal.”

Alabama’s two Republican U.S. Senators came right behind Roby and immediately called for Fuller to resign.

“The American people’s trust in our judicial system depends on the character and integrity of those who have the distinct honor of sitting on the bench,” said Sen. Richard Shelby. “I believe that Judge Mark Fuller has lost the confidence of his colleagues and the people of the state of Alabama. I urge him to resign immediately.”

“Judge Fuller’s unacceptable personal conduct violates the trust that has been placed in him,” Sen. Jeff Sessions added. “He can no longer effectively serve in his position and should step down.”

Rep. Terri Sewell (D-AL7), the lone Democrat in Alabama’s congressional delegation, may have been the first to call for Fuller to go, but it’s the chorus of Republicans who have chimed in since then that will likely change Fuller’s political calculus.

Follow Cliff on Twitter @Cliff_Sims

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