In September of this year Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended without pay for the remainder of his term by the state’s judicial disciplinary commission (Court of the Judiciary) on a complaint from the state judicial investigatory arm (the Judicial Inquiry Commission). Now members of the Alabama legislature want to disband both or strip them of power (news reports here and here).
SB 8 of 2017, as prefiled, would require legislative approval of any Court of the Judiciary decisions to remove a judge from office. Moreover, it would remove the exiting constitutional provision that “disqualifies” (suspends) a judge from office after the Judicial Inquiry Commission files charges until a final determination of the case against the judge.
SB 11 of 2017, as prefiled, goes further than SB 8 and simply abolishes both the Court of the Judiciary and the Judicial Inquiry Commission. There is no indication of what entity, if any, would replace them. The author of SB 11 described the proceedings against Chief Justice Moore as an “
Also possibly coming up in 2017 will be legislation pushed for by the executive committee of the Alabama GOP to have all 9 members of the Judicial Inquiry Commission elected. Currently the commission is made up of
1 appellate judge appointed by the supreme court, but who can’t be supreme court justice
2 circuit judges appointed by the Circuit Judges’ Association
1 District Judge appointed by the Lt. Governor
3 persons who are non-lawyers appointed by the governor with confirmation by the Senate
2 members of the State Bar appointed by the Board of Bar Commissioners.
The Alabama legislature comes back into session in February.