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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Bronner and The Supremes

Speaking of the Alabama Supreme Court, one of the smartest cookies in Alabama is taking on the Supremes. And it makes for a good read.

We've already established that Tom Scarritt, editor of The Birmingham News, surely is one of the dimmest bulbs in a position of authority in Alabama. The anti-Scarritt, perhaps the smartest person in a position of authority in Alabama, is David G. Bronner, CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama (RSA).

Alabama ranks near the bottom of more quality-of-life categories than I can count. But by God, the RSA is one of the top outfits of its kind in the country. And Bronner deserves much of the credit for that.

People tend to listen when Bronner talks--for example, he said recently that he has worked with numerous governors and saw nothing in Don Siegelman's activities that were different from those of other Alabama chief executives. For now, though, Bronner is unhappy with the Alabama Supreme Court, and he lets the court have it in the October issue of Advisor, the RSA's newsletter.

You can read Bronner's piece in PDF format by clicking here and clicking on the October 2007 issue. The headline is: "A Repeat: The Alabama Supreme Court."

Bronner's article goes to the heart of the corporate culture that runs Alabama courts. He notes that a Montgomery jury in November 2003 awarded Alabama $103 million (compensatory damages) and $11.8 billion (punitive damages) in a case against ExxonMobil. Punitive damages were reduced to $3.5 billion on appeal, and the case went to mediation after another appeal.

"ExxonMobil walked out of the mediation and for two years the Alabama Supreme Court has done nothing!" Bronner writes. "It is past time for the Alabama Supreme Court to resolve this abuse of the people of Alabama."

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