There are six constitutional amendments on the November 3rd ballot. Your organization may or may not take positions on such amendments, but everyone needs to be aware of what the amendments would do if enacted by the voters.
The Alabama Fair Ballot Commission compiled Ballot Statements for the six proposed constitutional amendments. The statements are available online at https://www.sos.alabama.gov/alabama-votes/voter/ballot-measures/statewide.
- Amendment No. 2 proposes changes to the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) to include the removal of the automatic suspension when a judge is charged, the addition of a probate judge and municipal judge to the board and term limits. There are also some contradictory provisions as to how judges may be impeached or charged and those would be clarified including the removal of the legislature’s ability to impeach judges.
- Amendment No. 2 also changes the way the Administrative Director of Courts who oversees the Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC)is appointed from the sole appointment by the Chief Justice to being elected by the Supreme Court as a whole for a term of 10 years. This is how the Clerk of the Court is chosen. The view of supporters of this change is that it will promote stability and continuity in the Judicial System of Alabama and in the Director of Courts position. In the last 10 years there have been five Chief Justices and five Directors of Courts. The court system is a $450 million operation with over 2,500 employees spread over 67 counties. The constant turnover of the Director without transition has made it difficult to establish and promote continuity and stability in the day-to-day operations of the courts as well as an inability to establish consistent long-term financial planning and fiscal responsibility. There is also an enabling bill (Act No. 2019-497) for the nomination of the Director of Courts consisting of judges, a clerk, and a lawyer nominating three names to the Supreme Court who vote on their choice.
- Amendment No. 3 increases the term of Judges appointed to fill a vacancy from one to two years completed in office before they are required to run in the next general election.
Please use and distribute these statements at your discretion. In addition to being available on the Secretary of State’s website, these Ballot Statements will also be included on official sample ballots produced by that office.