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Alabama's judicial campaign-contribution law in a stalemate

The Birmingham News reports: Alabama is no closer to resolving a 16-year impasse over regulating campaign contributions to state judges after a lawsuit that might have settled the matter was tossed out by three federal judges.

But the political landscape has changed in the days since the case was dismissed, and lawyers are attempting to restart the legal debate over how Alabama's dormant law banning judges from hearing cases involving big-dollar campaign donors might ever get enforced.

Now, the law is caught in a stalemate between the Alabama Attorney General's Office and the Alabama Supreme Court. The Supreme Court says it can't write the rule implementing it until the law is approved by the Justice Department as being non-discriminatory; the AG says the law doesn't need Justice Department review but can't be enforced until the Supreme Court writes the rule.

Three federal judges mocked this standoff in a recent opinion.

"To loosely paraphrase Robert Frost, two roads diverged from the statute, and neither was taken. Indeed, no step has yet trodden either," the judges wrote. -- Read the whole story --> Alabama standoff over judicial contributions draws fire | al.com

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