Alablawg

Commentary on Alabama Law and Society

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Location: Birmingham, Alabama

Friday, May 05, 2006

I Need To Put The Decatur Daily

On my regular reading list. First they get Justice Woodall to slam the Moore-ons, now we hear from Justice Lyons: "Demagoguery, said Justice Champ Lyons, is the greatest risk facing the judiciary."

He also comments on his son's recent e-mail to primary opponent Ben Hand:

In the e-mail, Champ Lyons III demanded that Hand withdraw from the race. Lyons III, who wrote that he works closely with the United Mine Workers Association, said the union would not endorse Hand if Hand opposed Justice Lyons, but would support him if he ran for a different office.

Lyons III also wrote, "I am a member of the Executive Committee of the Alabama Trial Lawyer's Association and I am confident you will receive no meaningful trial lawyer money."

Lyons III on Wednesday declined to comment on the e-mail. "This election is about my father, not about me," he said.

"I had no idea he was going to send it," said Justice Lyons. "I love him, though, and he loves me. I'm not going to condemn my son just to get elected."

My favorite part of the report is this statement from Mini-Moore's campaign spokesman:

Tom Parker never, ever said we should ignore Supreme Court precedent

Really? He did say this about a case (Adams v. State) in which the state wanted to execute a person who was under eighteen at the time of the offense, something the Supreme Court case of Roper v. Simmons said the constitution prohibits:

The proper response to such blatant judicial tyranny would have been for the Alabama Supreme Court to decline to follow Roper in the Adams case. By keeping Adams on death row, our Supreme Court would have defended both the U.S. Constitution and Alabama law (thereby upholding their judicial oaths of office) and, at the same time, provided an occasion for the U.S. Supreme Court, with at least two new members, to reconsider the Roper decision.

State supreme courts may decline to follow bad U.S. Supreme Court precedents because those decisions bind only the parties to the particular case. Judges around the country normally follow precedents in similar cases because they know that if those cases go before the Court again they are likely to receive the same verdict. But state supreme court judges should not follow obviously wrong decisions simply because they are "precedents."

If you can interpret the highlighted phrases as anything other than a call to "ignore Supreme Court precedent" then you are a better attorney than I am.

Finally, a big hat tip goes to Red State Diaries.