Mark Fuller is Back!
Judge Mark Fuller--yes that Mark Fuller, the one who ramrodded the Don Siegelman case--is back in the news.
Fuller is part of a three-judge panel appointed to hear the federal lawsuit of a Fairfield, Alabama, man who is challenging Governor Bob Riley's appointment to the Jefferson County Commission. Riley filled the seat vacated by Larry Langford, who was elected mayor of Birmingham. Fred Plump contends that Riley does not have the authority to fill the seat and interfere with a February 5 election that has been set to choose Langford's successor.
Joining Fuller on the panel are W. Harold Allbritton III, also from Montgomery's U.S. District Court, and Rosemary Barkett, from the 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
A previous federal-court decision, when Riley attempted to fill a similar seat in Mobile, found the governor was in the wrong and an election must be held. But Riley seems to be ignoring that precedent, and with Fuller involved, I wouldn't be surprised if this panel ignores precedent, too. Don't know much about Allbritton and Barkett, but I suspect it will be up to them to make sure the law is followed and voters are allowed to pick Langford's successor.
What kind of judge is Fuller? For a reminder, check out the affidavit from Missouri attorney Paul Benton Weeks.
The Partisan Supremes
More evidence that Alabama's Supreme Court is a blatantly partisan body. In a 7-2 decision, the court voided the election of a Democratic circuit judge in Talladega County.
The majority said Talladega County should not have had an election in 2006. The election was won by Democrat Chad Woodruff, who took office in February. Troy King, Alabama's Republican attorney general, had asked the state's highest court to review the court. And surprise, surprise, the court's GOP majority sided with King.
Here's another surprise. One of the dissenting votes came from Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb, the court's lone Democrat. Cobb wrote that the Supreme Court lacked jurisdiction to hear the case because the attorney general did not file a timely appeal of a judge's order placing Woodruff on the 2006 ballot. The other dissent came from Republican Tom Parker. I haven't had a chance to review the opinion, so not sure what Parker's dissent was based on.
I'm looking forward to studying this case. Cobb's dissent, based on a lack of timeliness standard, should be clearly shown by the record. If it is, then we have another example of the GOP supremes blatantly ignoring settled law to benefit their political interests. Other examples? The recent ExxonMobil ruling and the Legal Schnauzer case, which is at the heart of this blog. We will cover both rulings in detail in the days ahead.
Justice for a Beagle?
Investigators in Cullman County investigators have received a number of tips in the case of Anne, a three-year-old pet beagle who had to be euthanized after being skinned alive.
The case has received national media attention, and more than $14,000 in reward money has been collected. About 30 people have called with possible information about the case, and veterinarians at Auburn University are conducting an examination of Anne's body, partly to determine if she was restrained during the Nov. 18 attack.
The Social Gospel
Birmingham historian Marvin Whiting has completed a book on the Reverend Henry Edmonds, a local minister who tackled social-justice issues at a time, and in a place, where it was not popular to do so.
The book is called An Enduring Ministry. Edmonds founded Independent Presbyterian Church, on Birmingham's Southside, in 1915 and remained pastor there until 1942. He died in 1960.
Edmonds led an outreach to prostitutes and the homeless, led integrated revivals during segregation, and in the early 1930s campaigned to ensure adequate legal counsel for the Scottsboro Boys, a case that involved several black youths accused of raping a white woman.