Alabama: Supreme Court overturns felon voting decision
AP reports: The Alabama Supreme Court ruled Friday that a Jefferson County judge who had ordered the state to allow ex-felons to vote had exceeded his authority in recasting the case to focus on crimes of "moral turpitude."
The justices set aside the decision of Circuit Court Judge Robert Vance Jr., who last August said a state constitutional amendment that denies voting rights to felons convicted of crimes of moral turpitude does not identify which crimes fit that definition. Vance ruled they should be allowed to vote until the state legislature specifies what crimes apply.
But the state Supreme Court ruled that there was "no evidence indicating that anyone (in this case) has been disfranchised as the result of a decision on the merits applying the definition of moral turpitude."
The case was never about the definition of moral turpitude, the court ruled. On the contrary, the court said, it was "undisputed" that the plaintiffs had been denied the right to register without any concern as to the specific nature of their felonies. -- Voting felons dispute decided
Comment: The decision of the Court is here. As one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, allow me to give my view of the Court's decision.
Basically, the whole case turned on the fact that the Attorney General of Alabama is not just the lawyer for the Secretary of State, but also the official who gets to decide what the position of "the State" should be in court. So, as soon as AG entered the case for "the State" and agreed with the plaintiffs about the meaning of the Alabama Constitution's voter qualification provision, the Supreme Court holds that the controversy was over.
Even though we lost the case, getting the Attorney General to agree with our position should turn out to be valuable in the long run.