MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - In an unusual and rare move, the state Supreme Court overruled itself when it decided that Governor Riley and his task force can continue to pursue an electronic bingo case against the White Hall gaming center. Some are even calling the decision historic.
Since the 1980's, the state has been operating under a state Supreme Court ruling that said it's the Attorney General who has the has the final say-so regarding legal matters in the state. However, as a result of Friday's ruling, that's not true anymore. The state Supreme Court ruled in the "Weaver" case back in the 1980's when Don Siegelman was Attorney General that it was the Attorney General who has the ultimate power to settle legal disputes in the state.
But now, the Supreme Court has overruled itself saying "Attorney General King (and others) argue that this court's decision in Weaver supports their position. Because that decision is inconsistent with the reasoning and conclusions we express today, we hereby overrule Weaver."
The attorney for the charities at White Hall, Bobby Seagall, says, "The Court said - we were wrong when we said the person in charge was the Attorney General. The person in charge is the Governor. We changed the law. We overruled our prior decision. So, I don't necessarily think it's bad for the state, it's just different for the state."
If you think the Attorney General's office is in the judicial branch of government - it's not. It's in the executive branch. And, what the court said in essence is - it's the Governor who has the final word in the executive branch of government.
Attorney General Troy King issued a statement saying he is disappointed by the decision and says the implications of the decision reach far beyond the issue of bingo. King says the A.G.'s office will immediately turn over to the Governor all bingo matters.