One of the candidates for a seat on the Alabama Supreme Court may be disqualified. The question of the candidate's eligibility is being answered in a Montgomery court room. Eighteen days before the voting, with hundreds of thousands of ballots already printed, two of the three republican candidates want that third man out.
The June first primary could bring signs in polling places that say a candidate on the ballot is now disqualified and your vote won't count. The attorney for the incumbent, Associate Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker wants one of Parker's opponents disqualified because Eric Johnston turned in his ethics statement of economic interest form one day late. "I regret that an issue was made of something very minor in an effort to derail my campaign," says Johnston.
Johnston's attorney argued in court Thursday that Johnston mailed the form by overnight carrier the day before the deadline but the plane went to Alaska instead. "His plane was late with his documents when it took off. I don't care where it went," says Parker's attorney Al Agricola.
Parker's attorney says the law requires those ethics paper be filed on the same day Johnston qualified which was April 1st. Johnston mailed the papers on April 15th because he understood the deadline was April 6th, but the Ethics Commission didn't receive them until April 7th. "If Eric had not filed the report at all then sure he ought to suffer disqualification, but even under the most charitable of the arguments, he was one day late and the courts have said that doesn't disqualify you," explains Johnston's attorney Robert Huffaker.
Attorneys for Johnston also say this type of challenge should come after the election and not before. Obviously attorneys for Parker disagree.