MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Representative Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery) says it's time Alabama had a black female supreme court chief justice, and he's using the resignation decision by the current chief justice, Sue Bell Cobb, to ask Governor Bentley to make a historical statement.
Holmes says of the 19 members of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals, the Court of Criminal Appeals and Supreme Court not one is black.
"There are many well-qualified black female lawyers in Alabama who exhibit the character, integrity, and legal scholarship that a member of the Alabama Supreme Court should possess and who are non-partisan," Holmes wrote to the governor.
"The Governor welcomes input from all citizens in the state regarding the appointment of a Chief Justice. His only goal is to identify the best qualified person for this important position," said Bentley spokeswoman Jennifer Ardis.
Holmes says in his travels around the country the reputation he finds of Alabama is one "drifting back to the days of legalized segregation..."
The longtime legislator, known for his strong stances on the issue of race, said a black female chief justice in Alabama, "would send a strong message across the nation that Alabama no longer tolerates racism and prejudice based on race, color or gender."
Cobb's resignation doesn't become official until August and Bentley says he won't be limited by a timetable. There are no recognized front runners at this point to fill the chief justice position.