Alabama Governor Bob Riley has never been one to let the law keep him from doing what he wants to do. And that seems to be what happened when Riley appointed George F. Bowman to fill Larry Langford's seat on the Jefferson County. (The seat opened when Langford was elected mayor of Birmingham.)
Never mind that the law apparently does not give Riley the authority to appoint Langford's successor.
Fairfield, Alabama, resident Fred Plump has filed a lawsuit contending that Riley lacks authority in the Langford matter and has asked a federal court to remove Bowman from office.
The bipartisan Jefferson County Election Commission set a special election because its members maintain the state law that gives the governor the power to fill county-commission vacancies by appointment specifically excludes counties that have their own special election rules, as does Jefferson County.
Riley made a similar appointment in 2005, and a panel of federal judges ruled the appointment violated the federal Voting Rights Act of 1965. Riley's candidate was removed, and a special election was held.
"It is all about thwarting the democratic process that was already under way with an election set for February 5," said Joe Turnham, chair of the Alabama Democratic Party. "Now Governor Riley has pushed the issue into federal court."
With his hardheadedness and disdain for the rule of law, Riley is seeming more and more like Alabama's very own version of George W. Bush.