Alabama: Keep statewide elections for appellate courts

Alabama: Keep statewide elections for appellate courts
(Source: WSFA 12 News file photo)

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — Alabama is asking a judge to uphold the state's practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote, arguing party preference, and not racial prejudice, has created the current all-white courts.

A federal judge will hear arguments next month in the 2016 lawsuit alleging the practice violates the Voting Rights Act. Plaintiffs are asking the judge to order Alabama to switch to elections by districts, or another method.

State lawyers argued in a Monday court filing that the judges should be elected statewide because they are accountable to all Alabamians.

The state said if black candidates have been unsuccessful in recent years, it's because they are running as Democrats in a red state.

Alabama’s appellate courts are all-white and all-Republican. There have been three African-American judges on the state Supreme Court.