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State Bar Won't Push Judicial Election Proposal Next Session

By Alabama Public Radio

Montgomery, AL – Bar President Bobby Segall says the idea it should be an issue upon which a consensus can be reached, and in an election year, consensus does not appear to be a possibility. The lawyers' group recently announced plans for a constitutional amendment that would switch Alabama's three top courts, the Supreme Court, Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals, from elections to a process called ``merit selection.'' It involves appointments by the governor after a screening process. At present, 18 of the state's 19 appellate court seats are held by Republicans. Eleven of those 19 seats will be up for election in 2006, including the one held by the lone Democrat. Leaders of the Republican Party were ready to attack the Bar Association's plan in the legislative session starting January 10th, and even though Republicans are in the minority in the Legislature, they have enough strength in the Alabama House to block a constitutional amendment if they vote together.

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