Saturday, August 05, 2006

Is B'ham News Editorial on Judicial Reform Historically Accurate?

(I've got a nice toon of Karl Rove talking with Plato to drop here but Blogger is once again bloggered up! Several of the Alabama crowd have had their fill of Blogger and perhaps I will bolt soon as well. I hate to complain when something is free but I'd be pleased to pay if the damn thing would just reliably work for me!)

The B'ham News suggests reform in how Alabama's appellate judges are seated is a great idea but advises us to not hold our breath. I concur on the lack of optimism but wonder if they've not been a little too quick to assign blame to past Democratically controlled Administrations and Legislatures. The Editorial Board is responsible I guess in total as the author(s) of the piece are not identifid. Perhaps they are correct as I was a young buck and not even in law school until 1988. Here's what troubled me.

Change can only be accomplished through the Legislature. Once, change was impossible because Democrats dominated the appeals courts and objected to any change. Now that Republicans control the courts, they're adamantly opposed to change, too.
I certainly remember the "tort hell" battles in the Legislature and the 1994 elections where Karl Rove got the first wave of Business Big Mules judges on the Bench. In yesterday's post I linked The Atlantic article on Karl Rove's work here in Alabama that reveals what I think Bu$hCo is built on. I digress. Here's the issue - For the life of me I can't recall any efforts to reform judical elections that Democrats have hindered.

This American Judicature Society information seems to suggest that I'm right in my hesitancy to accept this editorial but I'm asking for help. Surely the B'ham News is not referring back to 1966 for their authority! Justice Heflin and other leaders brought Alabama up to speed in many areas and merit selction was I'd guess a barely fought issue. I just don't think the period before the shift toward a two-party state, and that is at least into the late 1980s, could in any way support what this editorial is suggesting.

If any of the few readers that visit can provide me with their understandings I'd appreciate. I might even try to contact the B'ham News and ask for what they are basing this argument on. Again, that it could have been this way would not surprise me. Still, my recollection is that the BCA and other Big Mules were going at their concerns in the Legislature rather than up at the Judicial Branch. Once they got their "tort reform" stuff through and it was rightly found flawed is when they went after Sonny and the Supremes.

For the B'ham News Editorial Board to just "make this up" is hardly what I'd expect and I'm hoping they haven't. Progressive Democrats, and there are a few left here, would likely welcome judical reform as it is absolutely "meritorious". We like those types of ideas and to have this Editorial suggest my party has outright dimissed them is irresponsible if offered without cause. The public is cynical enought already, rightly so here in Alabama, but let's not increase the lack of trust by stretching the historical record. Peace ... or War!