High court rejects Alabama county's appeal over legal fees, Tuscaloosa considering minimum wage hike

Jan 25, 2016

The Supreme Court won't hear an appeal from lawyers representing Shelby County who tried to recover $2 million in attorney fees from the U.S. government in a case that nullified a key part of the Voting Rights Act.

The justices let stand a lower court ruling today that said the county's civil rights lawsuit did not advance the law's anti-discriminatory purposes and didn't qualify for fee recovery.

Shelby County had prevailed in 2013 when the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to eliminate the Justice Department's ability to stop potentially discriminatory voting laws before they take effect.

The county argued that winning the case allowed it to recover attorney fees. But a federal appeals court said Congress was not trying to encourage litigation "to neuter the act's central tool."

The Tuscaloosa City Council is gearing up to consider a local pay raise for minimum wage workers.

The board is scheduled to debate an ordinance tomorrow that would raise minimum wages to ten dollar and ten cent per hour. The plan was the subject of a march on Dr. Martin Luther King, Junior’s birthday last week. Protesters called for economic justice and a higher minimum wage.

Deidre Stalnaker is the Communications Director for the City of Tuscaloosa. She says that raising the minimum wage throughout Alabama needs to be done at the state level.

“According to the state, only they can raise the minimum wage and so while we are supportive of raising the minimum wage it would need to be done at the state level. In fact, we are including that in our legislative agenda, what we talk to our delegation about.”

 A similar effort is underway in Huntsville. Birmingham’s City Council voted to raise its minimum wage last year.

The 2015 Crimson Tide football season officially ended this past Saturday with a National Championship celebration in Tuscaloosa.

A parade that began on University Boulevard ended on the steps on Bryant-Denny Stadium with the presentation of every team trophy Alabama won this season. 

Senior team captain and center Ryan Kelly took a final bow, and says he will always remember this season…

“I’m very fortunate that I can always call this place my home.  And it’s because all of the people that are in the stands.  All of the fans who make playing here so special.  All of the guys who are standing behind me are truly brothers to me and all of the coaches who have put in so much work in to making us in to men.”

The 45-to-40 victory over Clemson gave the Crimson Tide their 16th National Title and fourth in seven years under Coach Nick Saban.