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Alabama: for third year, State Bar will propose appointment of judges, rather than partisan elections

The Birmingham News reports: Alabama lawyers soon will push for merit-based appointment of appellate court judges, saying the state must change its reputation for costly and mean court races.

When the state Legislature convenes in March, the Alabama State Bar expects the introduction of a bill to appoint judges on the state Supreme Court and courts of appeals, Fournier "Boots" Gale III, a Birmingham lawyer who became the bar's president last month, said in an interview.

If the legislation were approved, a committee would recommend judicial candidates to the governor, who would make the appointment. Every six years, voters would decide whether to keep the judge in office, which is known as a retention election. ...

Alabama's judicial campaigns have become the most expensive in the country, according to Gale and national organizations that track judicial elections.

Since 1993, interest groups have poured almost $48 million into state Supreme Court races alone - including $4.6 million spent in the Republican primary for five state Supreme Court races so far this year. -- Bar urges judges be appointed

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