Editorial: Judges

Hard to believe that the Chief Justice of the Alabama 's Supreme Court, Sue Bell Cobb, was first appointed a judge just three weeks after she became a lawyer.

Most every profession requires some experience to advance in your career.

We would question hiring a football coach at Auburn or Alabama three weeks after they started coaching. We should also question appointing someone to be a judge who just passed the bar exam. Especially considering that person could be sentencing you to death.

Currently, the only requirements for serving as a judge in Alabama are to be a resident, a licensed attorney and at least 18 years old.

Our neighbors in Georgia require all judges to be at least 30 years old and have seven years experience.

We applaud the Alabama House for passing minimum standards for serving as a judge - at the urging of Chief Justice Cobb - and encourage the Senate to approve it as well.

The bill would require three years experience as a licensed attorney to serve as a district judge, five years to be a circuit judge and ten years to serve on the Alabama Supreme Court, the Court of Civil Appeals or the Court of Criminal Appeals.

Just having experience practicing law doesn't necessarily give you the character or temperament to be a quality judge, but at least it gives us some starting point.