Opposition to Amendment Four emerges - WSFA.com Montgomery Alabama news.

Opposition to Amendment Four emerges

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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) -

A group of attorneys came out against Amendment Four.

If passed, the proposed constitutional amendment would rewrite Alabama's Constitution of 1901 to remove references to segregation and poll taxes.

"Amendment Four is not just this little vanilla, item, provision" said Bobby Segall, a Montgomery attorney.

The group Segall, Jim Blacksher of Birmingham, and Cecil Gardner, said the proposed amendment could have far-reaching consequences for Alabama's public education system. The three attorneys have each done work in the past for the Alabama Education Association which has been an outspoken opponent to Amendment Four.

They argue that by approving Amendment Four, that voters would be approving an effort to strike language guaranteeing children in Alabama the right to a public education.

"This language is a safety net that safeguards public education in this state" Segall said. He said it's possible that without the specific passages, lawmakers could choose to divert funds away from the Education Trust Fund.

Alabama's Republicans have said the amendment has nothing to do with education. They consistently point to an opinion from the Alabama Law Institute that said the amendment would do nothing more than remove the racist references.

In a statement, a spokesman for the President Pro Tem of the Senate, Sen. Del Marsh, said, "The question for voters simply comes down to whether or not they trust the opinions of a special interest group whose lawyers are paid to support their own selfish agenda, or an independent group who does not have an agenda - it's that simple."

One of the attorneys against Amendment Four, Jim Blacksher, said he wouldn't rule out a racist or calculated agenda to hurt education in Alabama.

"I believe it very well could be and I would not concede that fact."

Last week, the Alabama Education Association urged its members to vote against Amendment Four. The head of the AEA, Dr. Henry Mabry, also said last week that it would be an uphill battle to defeat Amendment Four because of the short period of time to rally opposition.

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