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Alabama: court hears argument on Mobile special election law

The Mobile Register reports on my argument yesterday: An attorney representing three south Alabama lawmakers told a panel of three federal judges Wednesday that Gov. Bob Riley broke the law when he named Juan Chastang to the Mobile County Commission last November.

The legislators sued the governor in a Montgomery federal court, saying Riley failed to follow a provision of the 1965 Voting Rights Act that requires the U.S. Justice Department to review in advance any changes to Alabama election practices.

Riley maintains that there was no change, so preclearance was not needed for him to fill the District 1 post, emptied when Sam Jones became Mobile's mayor in October.

The suit was filed by state Reps. Yvonne Kennedy and James Buskey, both D-Mobile, and Bill Clark, D-Prichard. They asked the court to order a belated Justice Department review. If clearance is not granted, they asked the court to set a special election for the seat and remove Chastang, a Republican, from office. -- Attorneys spar over appointment

Documents from the case can be downloaded from my office website.

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