The Senate Judiciary Committee will consider a proposed constitutional amendment on Wednesday that would change how Alabama selects its Supreme Court justices.
Senate Bill 287 (SB287) is sponsored by Senate Minority Leader Bobby Singleton (D-Greensboro).
Currently, all of the justices on the Alabama Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals are elected statewide by the voters.
SB287 “would propose an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to provide for the election of associate justices of the Supreme Court and judges of the appellate courts by districts.”
Currently, all the justices on the Supreme Court are White Republicans. It is the same with the Court of Civil Appeals and the Court of Criminal Appeals. Republicans control all of the appellate judgeships in the state, and all of them elected presently are White.
Critics of this point out that 37% of the state are Democrats and 28% are Black. They argue that electing the appellate judges by district would likely improve the diversity of Alabama’s appellate courts.
SB287 is a constitutional amendment thus, if it clears committee, it would still need supermajorities in both the Alabama Senate and House in order to pass out of the legislature. The proposed amendment would still have to be ratified by the voters of the state.
Wednesday will be day 25 of the 2022 Alabama Regular Legislative Session. There is a maximum of six legislative days left in the 2022 legislative session. The legislature is limited to 30 legislative days in a session but is not required to use all 30 of their alloted days.
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