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Alabama: Supreme Court hears arguments in Jefferson County election case

The Birmingham News reports: A decision on the dispute over a vacancy on the Jefferson County Commission may hinge on whether a special election to fill it was legal or if a group of residents had the right to sue to block the vote.

The Alabama Supreme Court heard oral arguments Wednesday over how to fill the commission vacancy created when Larry Langford resigned to become Birmingham s mayor.

The justices did not say when they would rule.

Justices questioned whether the people who sued to block the Feb. 5 special election had a right to file the case. If not, the court could rule there was no valid challenge to the election, won by Birmingham City Councilman William Bell.

But the justices also discussed whether the 1977 law allowing the county's election commission to call for the vote was unconstitutional. Gov. Bob Riley's lawyer said state law gives the governor sole power to fill the seat and the county special-election law should be struck down.

If a court majority agrees, the governor's appointee, George Bowman, would be the commissioner. -- Right to sue, hold special election at heart of District 1 case - al.com

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