Alabama Senators Act Against Corruption in the Court

liberty-counsel-large-2016LIBERTY ALERTS, LIBERTY COUNSEL

MONTGOMERY, AL – According to the Alabama Political Reporter (APR), Senators Dick Brewbaker and Bill Hightower are offering constitutional amendments that would rein in the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) and the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) in Alabama.

The JIC was created to investigate, receive, and initiate complaints leveled against sitting judges, and the COJ was formed to hear cases that the JIC felt needed additional arbitration. However, the Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard 2014 corruption study lists Alabama as one of the highest-ranking states regarding legal and illegal corruption in the judicial branch.

The Alabama Political Reporter (APR) notes a case in point regarding how the JIC and COJ have dealt with Chief Justice Roy Moore, stating their actions “appear more politically motivated rather than interested in seeking justice.” Chief Justice Moore was given an unprecedented life-long suspension, based on his January 2016 Administrative Order. The APR points out that Chief Justice Moore asked that the case that underlies his motion be unsealed. Yet the Court has refused. In addition, the JIC hired the former legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to represent it, though the SPLC originally filed the complaints against Chief Justice Moore. In an apparent attempt to remove any personnel associated with the Chief Justice, Acting Justice Lyn Stuart terminated three of Moore’s staff attorneys and two additional employees of the Court. Stuart also demanded the Chief Justice remove all personal items from his office and she removed his name from the Supreme Court letterhead, despite the fact his case is still on appeal.

The APR reports that Senators Brewbaker and Hightower are determined to either rid Alabama of this “Star Chamber-like” body of appointees completely or amend the 1901 Constitution by placing a legislative check on its actions. Hightower recently asked the Legislative Fiscal Office (LFO) to conduct a comparison study on how other states deal with complaints or abuses regarding the Judiciary. The LFO found that all but two states have a judicial removal process, where a two-thirds majority of the House of Representatives may impeach, and two-thirds of the Senate may convict a judge. This is the typical process followed for removing any elected official in most states.

The APR concludes by saying: “In the last four years, APR has been asked to participate in a Harvard study on legal and illegal corruption. Yearly, the judicial branch was scored low on both legal and illegal corruption. However, actions taken by the JIC coupled with those of Lyn Stuart’s court have left us no choice but to believe there is corruption at the highest levels of the judiciary.”

“We commend the Alabama Political Reporter and Senators Brewbaker and Hightower for bringing to light and taking action against the corruption that reeks in the Alabama court system,” said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. “This corruption has been evident throughout this entire ordeal with Chief Justice Moore with the injustice that he has endured. To get rid of these two entities would be a positive step in order to allow Chief Justice Roy Moore to serve as the people elected him to do,” said Staver.

Used with the permission of Liberty Counsel.

Liberty Counsel is an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

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