U.S. Supreme Court

Alabama Supreme Court
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A north Alabama attorney has been appointed to serve on the court currently considering judicial ethics charges that could result in the removal of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Attorney W.N. "Rocky" Watson of Fort Payne will replace Opelika attorney John V. Denson on the Alabama Court of the Judiciary during the Moore case. Denson recused himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. He is the only current member of the Court of the Judiciary that was also on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

One member of the Alabama Court of the Judiciary has recused himself from the upcoming decision on the fate of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.

Opelika attorney John V. Denson is one of nine judges, attorneys and other citizens who serve on Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary. He says he is recusing himself from the case to avoid any appearance of impropriety. Denson is the only current member of the Court who also served on the body in 2003, when Chief Justice Moore was first removed from office.

The U.S. Supreme Court says death-row prisoners must have "rational understanding" that they are about to be executed and why.  But a lawyer for an Alabama inmate say their client fails that test.

A lawyer for 65-year-old Vernon Madison told a panel of 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges today that stroke-induced dementia has made Madison unable to understand why the state plans to execute him. Madison was convicted in the 1985 killing of Mobile police Officer Julius Schulte.

Suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is asking a state judicial panel to dismiss ethics charges against him. Moore says he never told probate judges to refuse marriage licenses to gay couples.

Moore is accused of violating judicial ethics with a 2016 administrative order.  It came six months after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively legalized same-sex marriage.

His lawyers say the order only noted correctly that a state court injunction to refuse same-sex marriage licenses had not been lifted.

Supreme Court
Equal Justice Initiative

The U.S. Supreme Court says lower courts in Alabama and two other states must re-examine three death penalty convictions for evidence of racial prejudice in jury selection.

The court ruled yesterday in the cases of Christopher Floyd of Alabama, Jabari Williams of Louisiana and Curtis Giovanni Flowers of Mississippi.

Alabama Governor Robert Bentley says water officials in north Alabama “unnecessarily” caused panic when they issued an advisory not to drink potentially contaminated tap water.

Lawyers have picked a jury for House Speaker Mike Hubbard's ethics trial scheduled to start next week. A-P-R’s Stan Ingold has more…

The panel of 12 jurors and four alternates is made up of five black men, four white men, four black women and three white women.

The Montgomery Advertiser and al.com reports that Lee County Judge Jacob Walker instructed the panel not to discuss the high-profile case.

The fate of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is with the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission. The panel filed six counts of judicial ethics violations against Moore and suspended him from office pending an investigation.

The charges stem from an order he issued to all of the state’s probate judges instructing them not to issue same-sex marriage licenses. The order was issued in January, six months after and in direct defiance of a U.S. Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage.

Alabama Supreme Court
Chris Pruitt / Wikimedia

An Alabama judicial regulatory body will decide whether Roy Moore should be removed as Chief Justice of the state Supreme Court.

Moore faces removal from the bench over his effort to block same-sex marriage from coming to Alabama despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling effectively legalizing gay marriage nationwide. The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission filed ethics charges against Moore late last week, accusing him of abusing his authority and failing to respect the judiciary.

slate.com

Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended with pay from his office and faces removal from the bench. The action comes from his effort to block same-sex marriage from coming to Alabama despite the U.S. Supreme Court that effectively legalized gay marriage nationwide.   

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission on Friday filed ethics charges against Moore accusing him of abusing his authority and failing to respect the judiciary

Committees in Alabama’s House of Representatives passed two notable bills yesterday. One would prevent abortion clinics from being located near public schools, and another would take the state of Alabama out of the marriage process entirely.

Legislators say the abortion bill is aimed at protecting students from the chaos of protestors outside abortion clinics. It would close an existing abortion facility in Huntsville, which was forced to move to its current location near a public school after the state mandated new facility requirements in 2013.

Alabama's attorney general is appealing a recent ruling that declared the state's death penalty sentencing system unconstitutional.

Alabama Attorney General Luther Strange says Jefferson County Circuit Court Judge Tracie Todd doesn't have the authority to prevent the state from seeking the death penalty against defendants who are charged with capital murder.

In Alabama death penalty cases, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final say. It’s not uncommon for state judges to overturn a jury recommendation of life in prison in favor of the death penalty.

Federal labor officials are suing an international automotive supplier and managers of the company’s plant in Selma. They claim the company retaliated against employees who raised concerns over dangerous working conditions and inadequate benefits.

According to a complaint filed late last week, three employees at Lear Corporation's Renosol Seating plant in Selma complained to federal labor officials two years ago that they'd been exposed to a chemical that caused health problems and were treated unfairly when they were transferred to another facility.

The U.S. Supreme Court says Alabama’s highest court overstepped its bounds when it invalidated a lesbian mother’s adoption. APR’s Alex AuBuchon has more.

 The Supreme Court ruled unanimously to throw out an Alabama Supreme Court decision denying a lesbian woman adoption rights she had previously been granted.

The woman had adopted three children with a former partner. When she tried to ensure her visitation rights, the Alabama Supreme Court said her adoption was invalid.

A Jefferson County judge has ruled Alabama’s method of imposing the death penalty unconstitutional.

Jefferson County Circuit Judge Tracie Todd sided with defense attorneys who argued that Alabama’s death penalty statute was extremely similar to Florida’s, and the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that Florida’s law was unconstitutional in January.

In death penalty cases in Alabama and Florida, juries recommend sentences but judges have the final decision. It’s not uncommon for Alabama judges to overrule a jury suggestion of life in prison and impose the death penalty.

Alabama’s Chief Justice Roy Moore is once again suggesting that gay marriage is illegal in Alabama, despite a U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide.

Moore issued an administrative order yesterday advising probate judges not to issue licenses to same-sex couples. He says the state Supreme Court never lifted its directive from March advising judges to abide by the Alabama constitution.

Supreme Court
Wikimedia

An Alabama woman who had her adoption rights stripped by the state Supreme Court is now turning to the highest court in the nation.

The woman identified as V.L. adopted her long-term partner’s three children in Georgia. When the couple later split, the biological mother prevented V.L. from seeing her children. V.L. asked Alabama's Supreme court for help. Instead, the justices invalidated her adoptions.

Cathy Sakimura is an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and represents the woman. She says what Alabama’s Supreme Court did was unprecedented.

Barry Electric Plant
Wikimedia

Alabama’s power plants are burning less coal and a lot more natural gas, and one group of scientists has taken notice.

The Union of Concerned Scientists released a report today analyzing each state’s current and future dependence on natural gas as a fuel source. Alabama was one of six states deemed at high risk of over-reliance in nearly every aspect of the study.

John Rogers is a senior energy analyst with the Union of Concerned Scientists. He thinks power companies need to make smarter and more balanced investments, instead of going all-in on natural gas.

Elmore County Courthouse
courthouselover / Flickr

A probate judge in Alabama is asking the state's Supreme Court for a way out of issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Elmore County Probate Judge John Enslen filed a petition earlier this week saying the federal government should issue same-sex marriage licenses, not state or county offices. Enslen says the federal government is responsible for upholding and enforcing other laws created at the federal level.

The fight over political redistricting in Alabama is headed back to federal court.

A three-judge panel will hear arguments later today in Montgomery over whether legislators relied too much on race when they drew legislative district lines.

Same Sex Adoption Fight

Jul 18, 2015

  

Since the U.S. Supreme Court marriage ruling, same sex couples in Alabama are seeking to be recognized as parents to the children they are raising.

A judge last week approved one of the first adoptions in the state in the wake of the marriage ruling. 

Tracy Haraway, of Huntsville, gave birth to twin boys fifteen months ago. However her wife, Ashley, was not recognized as a legal parent until the adoption.

Tracy Haraway says the adoption gives her peace of mind that her spouse is a recognized parent and can make legal decisions for their children.

The United States Supreme Court says same sex marriages are legal nationwide, but marriage licenses aren't going out yet in Tuscaloosa County.

Dozens of activists gathered outside the County Courthouse to celebrate the decision. But inside the courthouse, clerks had no plans to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses.

Tuscaloosa County Probate Judge Hardy McCollum says he's following the law...

Today’s Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage is being both welcomed and criticized in Alabama. The nation’s highest court declared that state bans on gay marriage are unconstitutional, and that existing marriages have to be recognized nationwide. Many officials including Pike County Probate Judge Wes Allen say they oppose same-sex marriage and are resisting the implementation.

The ruling is being celebrated by couples APR News has been following for months.

First gay marriage licenses issued in Alabama

Jun 26, 2015

Some Alabama counties have started issuing marriage licenses to gay couples after the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the state's ban on same-sex marriage.

A supervisor in Mobile County's probate court, Russ Davidson, said the court issued its first same-sex marriage license to two women Friday after months of refusing to sell marriage licenses to anyone.

The issuance came within hours of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling making gay marriage legal across the United States.

The United States Supreme Court upheld a ruling yesterday declaring that tax subsidies for health care from the federal government are constitutional.

In Alabama, that’s good news for more than 130,000 people that purchased insurance through the Affordable Care Act. In most cases, the federal tax breaks on those plans were what made them affordable enough to purchase.

There are only two and a half weeks left in the current Supreme Court session, and Alabamians are still waiting on a definitive answer regarding same-sex marriage.

Gay marriage is currently legal in Alabama, but a state Supreme Court ruling has ordered all county probate judges not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. U.S. District Judge Callie Granade passed a ruling that would force those probate judges to begin issuing licenses, but that won’t go into effect until after the Supreme Court rules.

A federal judge has ruled once more that gays and lesbians have the right to marry in all Alabama counties, but placed her decision on hold until the U.S Supreme Court issues their ruling on same-sex marriage nationally.

U.S District Judge Callie Granade ruled yesterday saying once again that Alabama's ban on same-sex marriage is unconstitutional and ordered all probate judges to stop enforcing that ban. But her order won’t go into effect until a U.S. Supreme Court decision which is expected to be handed down sometime next month.

The Alabama House Health Committee recently approved a series of abortion restrictions that opponents say would ban most abortions in the state.

The committee approved three separate pieces of legislation, including one bill that would prohibit abortion providers from performing an abortion if a fetal heartbeat is detected.

Bill sponsor Terri Collins says the end of a person's life is defined by the absence of a heartbeat, so it makes sense that the beginning of life should be defined by the presence of one.

After voters rejected a tax hike proposal last month, the Baldwin County Commission and Baldwin County School Board are looking for more input.

There will be a joint public meeting this evening to begin the process of moving forward from the referendum that would have helped pay for a 10 year, $350 million capital construction project.

Charles Gruber is the chairman of the Baldwin County Commission. He believes the referendum was shot down by voters because the public was not able to voice any concerns about the tax.

The U.S. Supreme Court began to hear arguments yesterday as to whether state bans on same-sex marriage are federally constitutional.

In Tuscaloosa, advocates gathered in the shadow of Denny Chimes at the University of Alabama for a candlelight vigil in support of gay marriage and gay rights in general.

Meredith Bagley is a communications professor at the University of Alabama and one of the organizers of last night's event. She explains why they chose a candlelight vigil.

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