Judge hears arguments on Alabama's method of electing judges

Aug 7, 2019

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has heard arguments in a voting rights lawsuit challenging Alabama's system of statewide elections for appellate courts.

The 2016 lawsuit by the Alabama State Conference of the NAACP and several black voters contends the method violates the Voting Rights Act by diluting the voting power of African Americans.

Plaintiffs' attorney Keith Harrison said Wednesday that the system is rooted in racial discrimination and creates a "color line" with all-white appellate courts in a state that's 26% black.

Assistant Attorney General Jim Davis said political party preference and policy issues, rather than race, explain who has been elected to the court.

Plaintiffs want Alabama to use district elections as some other states do.

U.S. District Judge Keith Watkins did not indicate when he would rule.