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Alabama: suit filed to block enforcement of law on campaign contributions

The Birmingham News reports: A 15-year-old Alabama law that says judges should not hear cases in which one of the parties donated at least $2,000 to their campaigns has never been enforced, locked in a stalemate over whether it first needs to be reviewed by the U.S. Department of Justice for evidence that it would not disenfranchise minorities.

A lawsuit filed this week in Washington by an Anniston City Council member tries to settle the question, but it also raises more questions about how an act of the Alabama Legislature can essentially be ignored for so long.

The 1995 law says that a circuit judge who received at least $2,000 from one of the people involved in the case -- or $4,000 for an appellate judge -- must recuse himself in order to avoid the "appearance of impropriety."

Soon after it was passed, the Alabama attorney general's office submitted the law to the Department of Justice, which normally reviews all changes to Alabama's election laws under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. But before the Justice Department could make a decision, the attorney general at the time, Jeff Sessions, withdrew the request for review and notified Washington that the state would enforce the new law and that it didn't need preclearance from the DOJ. -- Read the whole story --> Lawsuit seeks Justice Department review of unenforced 15-year-old state law | al.com

A copy of the complaint is shown below:

Little v. King Complaint

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