Panel rejects bill to hold nonpartisan judge votes

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - A House committee has voted mostly along party lines to defeat two bills supporters said would take partisan politics out of judicial elections.

The House Constitution and Elections Committee defeated on a 6-5 vote a bill that would have candidates for judicial positions run in nonpartisan elections.

The committee also defeated, on a 5-5 vote, a bill to limit the amount of money candidates for appellate judge positions can receive in campaign contributions.

The bills were supported by Alabama Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb.

She said she believes that Alabama residents want politics taken out of the process of selecting judges.

The votes fell along party lines, with Republicans voting against nonpartisan elections and against limiting campaign contributions. Democrats mostly supported the bills.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)