Marshall applauds federal court ruling upholding Alabama’s system of electing appellate court judges
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall praised the Middle District Court of Alabama’s ruling released Wednesday that upheld Alabama’s system of electing its appellate court judges.
The lawsuit in question was brought by the NAACP on behalf of four black Alabama voters. It concerned Alabama’s system of partisan elections for the members of the Alabama Supreme Court and the Courts of Criminal and Civil Appeals.
The suit alleged that having each justice and judge run statewide, instead of in districts, was discriminatory against Alabama’s black voters.
“We presented evidence, and the Court agreed, that Alabama’s method of electing appellate judges is not designed to discriminate against African Americans and that it does not discriminate against them. Marshall said in a statement
The court’s ruling says that Alabama’s judicial election system is not “racially discriminatory in violation of the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments.”
A concept argued by the NAACP was that Alabama was performing “vote dilution” by having the 26% of the state that is African American get canceled out by the white majority in a statewide election.
Judge Keith Watkins, writing for the court, cited a judicial precedent that attributing judicial election losses to vote dilution is a “euphemism for political defeat at the polls.”
“Alabama’s statewide system of electing appellate judges was first approved more than one hundred years ago and is similar to election methods used in other States. Election outcomes are the result of partisan shifts in the State’s voting population and not due to an intent to favor or to disfavor any particular ethnic group,” Marshall concluded.