The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law filed a lawsuit today on behalf of the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and four individual black voters alleging that the method of electing Alabama’s most powerful judges violates the Voting Rights Act. The suit claims Alabama’s statewide method of electing members of the Alabama Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals deprives the African-American community of the ability to elect any judges of their choice. The suit alleges, since only one fourth of the state’s population is black, a statewide election for these judges prevents the black voters from having any judicial representation. Currently, all 19 of Alabama’s appellate judges are white.
… “The fact that no African-Americans are on the Alabama Supreme Court or any other office elected statewide sends a clear message that black Alabamians remain subordinate to whites in state government, just as the 1901 Constitution intended,” Blacksher said.
“The Alabama NAACP continues to fight for equitable representation of all communities in our judicial system at all levels,” said Benard Simelton, president of the Alabama NAACP. “Alabama cannot continue to have a system that ignores segments of the community. We believe that a revised method of electing judges will lead to representation of all segments of the community.”