Governor Bob Riley appointed his State Finance Director, Drayton Nabers, as Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tuesday, filling the post vacated with the ouster of Roy Moore. Riley made the announcement at the state Capitol with some members of the Supreme Court present.
Alabama's top judicial post became open last November when the Alabama Court of the Judiciary kicked Moore out of office for refusing to obey a federal judge's order to remove his Ten Commandments monument from the rotunda in the state judicial building. A special Alabama Supreme Court unanimously upheld Moore's removal on April 30th.
Riley's decision drew criticism from Tom Parker, a former lawyer for Moore and a Republican nominee for a seat on the state Supreme Court. Parker would have preferred to see Moore get the appointment.
Gorman Houston, the senior member of the state Supreme Court, had been serving as acting chief justice until Nabers' appointment. The 63-year-old Nabers has a law degree from Yale and practiced law in Birmingham before joining Protective Life Insurance in 1979.
Roy Moore would not comment on Drayton Nabers taking his old job, only saying that he is currently appealing his case to the U.S. Supreme Court. His attorney, Rich Hobson, said he wasn't surprised by the announcement, but added he was told the Governor would not make a decision until all Roy Moore's legal decisions are made.