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Over 50% of Precincts Reporting, Vance/Moore Race Still Close

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Staff Report

With over 50-percent of precincts reporting the Moore/Vance race is still tight.

Moore: 51%

Vance 49%

2257 0ut of 2711 precincts reporting.

The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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Alabama Constable Association: Amendment 2 could defund Constables statewide

Eddie Burkhalter

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If Amendment 2 on the Nov. 3 ballot is approved by Alabama voters, it could pave the way for an end to an office in Alabama with a history in the U.S. that dates back to the 17th century, according to the Alabama Constable Association. 

Chauncey Wood III, president of the Alabama Constables Association, reached by phone Monday referred a reporter to a pending press release from the association. 

Jonathan Barbee, Constable for Jefferson County and the association’s spokesman, said in the statement Monday that the association is concerned with several aspects of Amendment 2. 

If approved, the amendment would process numerous changes to the state’s judicial system, including a change that would allow Alabama Supreme Court, rather than the Chief Justice, to appoint the Administrative Director of Courts.

It would also increase the Judicial Inquiry Commission from nine members to 11 and would allow the Governor, rather than the Lieutenant Governor, to appoint a member of the Court of the Judiciary. The amendment would also prevent automatic disqualification from holding public offices for a judge solely because a complaint was filed with the Judiciary Inquiry Commission. Additionally, it would provide that a judge can be removed from office only by the Court of the Judiciary.

Amendment 2 would also “delete certain language relating to the position of constable holding more than one state office” and Barbee, in his statement, explained that the amendment could defund Constables statewide if counties chose to do so. 

“Constables are not taxpayer-funded, they are largely voluntary Peace Officers,” Barbee said. “The fees they collect from their duties as Officers of the Courts allow them to support the expenses of the office such as vehicles, uniforms, and equipment.  Amendment 2 also deletes the language protecting how Constables are paid by private court fees, leaving it in question for the appointed Administrator to decide.” 

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In Alabama, Constables are elected peace officers and act in many ways as do sheriff’s deputies, able to make arrests, serve court papers and provide security for parades, funerals and the like. 

Amendment 2 was sponsored by Alabama Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur. Orr in a message to APR on Monday said that the portion of the amendment dealing with constables was drafted by an Alabama Law Institute committee, headed at the time by the institute’s deputy director at the time, Clay Hornsby. Orr referred questions about the matter to Hornsby. 

David Kimberley, acting deputy director of the Alabama Legislative Services Agency’s Law Institute, told APR that he took over as acting deputy director since Hornsby’s departure on Aug. 1. 

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If the amendment is approved by voters, Kimberley said that a county that wants to keep their constable they can do so, but that the amendment is an acknowledgement that there are few constables left in the state and “it’s becoming a bit of a, approaching an archaic position or office.” 

“It was noted that only 24 out of the 67 counties currently have constables. Most of all the services of constables are duplicated sheriff’s deputies,” Kimberley said. “And it was essentially just an acknowledgement of what seemed to be a gradual phase out of this office in the state of Alabama.” 

Read Barbee’s full statement below: 

The Alabama Constables Association has joined other law enforcement and conservative groups in urging voters to vote “NO” on Amendment 2 in the general election on November 3rd.

Constable Jonathan Barbee, the Association’s Public Information Officer, said in a statement:

“We’re very concerned about several of the parts of Amendment 2, starting with the overall size and complexity of the Amendment. Typically, proposed constitutional amendments deal with only one or at most a few issues. Amendment 2 proposes SIX different changes to the State Judicial System, some of which drastically change the way we do things in Alabama.

“Amendment 2 could harm small communities by allowing county district courts to discontinue having municipal courts in cities with populations of less than 1,000.  Municipal courts are typically held at night, making it easier for working people to attend.  Without these small municipal courts, residents would have to spend most of a day at the county seat, losing a day of work or being forced to burn a vacation day for something that now is usually settled in an evening. It also indirectly attacks and defunds the Police departments of these towns, because their city courts are a significant source of revenue to help keep Officers on patrol. This part of Amendment 2 strikes at our small communities, drawing power to the larger county seats.

“Amendment 2 also removes the ability of the Legislature to impeach Judges, making the unelected, unaccountable to the people, Court of the Judiciary as the only body that can remove a Judge from the bench. Every citizen in Alabama should be concerned about this, because it effectively takes away their ability, acting through their elected representatives in the Legislature, to remove a bad Judge from their position.

“Amendment 2 allows Judges to continue working when complaints are filed against them with the Judicial Inquiry Commission.  We understand that automatically removing a Judge just because a complaint has been filed can lead to problems and abuses of the system, but these can be settled in a timely manner by the JIC. The alternative, which Amendment 2 will create, would allow Judges who need to be removed to continue hearing cases, and give them a legal basis for fighting their removal. We believe this has the potential for much more serious problems to arise within our courts.

“Amendment 2 could also defund Constables by removing our ability to serve as Constables while also working in another position with the State or County. Constables are not taxpayer-funded, they are largely voluntary Peace Officers. The fees they collect from their duties as Officers of the Courts allow them to support the expenses of the office such as vehicles, uniforms, and equipment. Amendment 2 also deletes the language protecting how Constables are paid by private court fees, leaving it in question for the appointed Administrator to decide. This could effectively defund the Office of Constable statewide, which removes the protection and services Constables provide in their communities at no cost to the taxpayers of Alabama. Over the last year, at least two Constables were responsible for saving several lives during medical emergencies, Constables in Jefferson County have been helping with traffic control and schools, and one Constable assisted with a large drug interdiction arrest. We feel this is an unnecessary and unwarranted attack on the oldest elected law enforcement position in the nation.

“There are other problems with this Amendment. Amendment 2 mandates that the entire Alabama Supreme Court, instead of the Chief Justice, appoint the Administrative Director of Courts. It would be a change from having a single elected, accountable official being responsible for this appointment to having it done by committee. Once the Administrator is appointed they could, in fact, serve a lifetime appointment.  Amendment #2 would also remove the ability of Alabama’s elected Lieutenant Governor to appoint one member of the Court of the Judiciary, giving that ability and more control to the Governor, who already appoints two members.  

“Many of these points are not easy to find, because the forces behind this Amendment have purposefully omitted them from the official documentation provided to the Alabama Secretary of State’s office. If for no other reason than this deliberate obfuscation of the true contents of this Amendment, it should be voted down. The people of Alabama deserve better than this attempt by special interests to radically change how our state’s Judicial system works, mostly as a smokescreen to hide how they will use it to protect bad Judges, inconvenience small-town residents, and make citizens across the state less safe.

“We urge the voters of Alabama to vote ‘NO’ on Amendment 2.”

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Zeta keeps tracking toward the Gulf Coast

Brandon Moseley

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Tropical Storm Zeta is currently in the Gulf after impacting the Yucatan Peninsula. It is currently forecast to impact the Gulf Coast on Wednesday. Currently the maximum sustained winds are 70 miles per hour.

Zeta is moving to the northwest at fourteen miles per hour. Its present predicted track takes it into the northern Gulf of Mexico and impacts the Louisiana gulf coast near Grand Isle, Louisiana as a category one hurricane. It will continue on to Mississippi and Alabama bringing rainfall and isolated severe weather to much of the state of Alabama.

While Zeta is not currently predicted to come ashore on the Alabama Gulf Coast, hurricanes do move and take different routes and that is not completely out of the realm of possibility. Residents of Baldwin and Mobile Counties are advised to watch the weather very closely and have their hurricane plan updated and handy.

ABC 33/40 meteorologist James Spann said, “Most of the rain is displaced to the north and east of the center once inland, and the risk of isolated tornadoes is south of the track.”

Mobile and Baldwin Counties are under tropical storm watch. The tropical storm watch extends east to the Walton/Okaloosa County line in the Florida Panhandle.

Spann warned that winds could gust to 50 miles per hour along the Alabama coast on Wednesday and Wednesday night, and to 45 mph at places like Pensacola and Navarre Beach. Inland, winds up to 45 mph are possible across parts of Southwest and Central Alabama Wednesday night.

Spann said that a few trees could be blown down, but major tree and power line damage is not expected. A few isolated tornadoes are possible over the southern half of Alabama Wednesday night. A “marginal risk” (level 1/5) has been defined.

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Stay away from the water, because dangerous rip currents are likely along the coast from Gulf Shores to Panama City Beach today and Wednesday.

The rain amounts will be heaviest across Southwest Alabama, where three to four inches are expected. Most other parts of Alabama will see one to three inches. Major flooding issues are not expected since Zeta is expected to move along quickly out of the state.
Spann said that most for most of Alabama the significant rain will be over by md-morning Thursday.

The Alabama Gulf Coast is still recovering from Hurricane Sally which came ashore near Gulf Shores in September.

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Barry Moore endorsed by FarmPAC

Brandon Moseley

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Monday, the Barry Moore for Congress campaign thanked the Alabama Farmers Federation political action committee, FarmPAC, for endorsing Moore in next week’s Second Congressional District general election race.

“I’ve always been proud of the fact that I grew up on a farm,” Moore said in a statement. “Farm life teaches you to respect God’s good earth and everything in it. It taught me the value of hard work, and that not everything, like the weather, will always go the way you want it to no matter what you do or how hard you work. That’s something I think a lot of people these days could do with learning.”

“I’m pleased that FarmPAC has seen fit to endorse me in this election,” Moore said. “I’ll continue to be a strong supporter of our farmers and all the businesses that support and rely on them, just like I’ve always been. District 2 is an agricultural district first and foremost, and we can’t forget that.”

“I look forward to working in the next Congress to support Alabama’s farmers and agribusiness by making it easier for them to access new markets and new technologies,” Moore added. “We also need to make sure they aren’t weighed down by excessive regulations and have the backing they need from Washington to compete globally. I have every confidence that, given a chance, Alabama’s farmers can compete with anyone, anywhere. My job in Congress will be to make sure they have that chance.”

To see the complete list of FarmPAC endorsements:

https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#search/Barry+Moore/FMfcgxwKjBPvNlXxGbtPGBVpgbvngvjr?projector=1&messagePartId=0.1

FarmPAC had endorsed Dothan businessman Jeff Coleman in the Republican primary. He was bested by Moore in the Republican primary runoff.

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Moore is the Republican nominee in the Second Congressional District race on November 3rd. He faces Democrat Phyllis Harvey-Hall for the open seat.

Moore is a veteran, small businessman, husband, and father of four from Enterprise. Moore and his wife, Heather, own a waste management business in Enterprise. Moore was elected to the Alabama House of Representatives in 2010 and re-elected in 2014.

Incumbent Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) is retiring from Congress after five terms.

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Amy Coney Barrett confirmed to the Supreme Court

Brandon Moseley

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Monday evening, the U.S. Senate finally confirmed Trump nominee Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court. U.S. Senator Richard Shelby (R-Alabama) voted in favor of Barrett’s confirmation and delivered a powerful floor speech urging his fellow Senator to vote in support of Judge Barrett’s nomination to serve as the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court. The Senate confirmed Judge Barrett by a vote of 52 to 48.

“I am proud to have voted to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to serve as an associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court,” Sen. Shelby said. “Throughout my career in the Senate, I have never seen a more eminently qualified judicial nominee. Not only has she demonstrated a deep commitment to the Constitution and its protections established by our Founding Fathers, but she has also displayed incredible integrity, humility, and impartiality. I am confident she will serve our country with honor on our nation’s highest court.”

Alabama Governor Kay Ivey (R) has also championed Barrett’s cause with a widely distributed op-ed written in favor of Barrett’s confirmation. Ivey applauded the news saying, “Today is a great day for our country and a signal to every little girl – and boy – that the most qualified individual will get the job.”

“I applaud the swift Senate confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court of the United States,” Ivey said in a statement. “Amy Coney Barrett’s willingness to serve, despite a hostile political environment, is proof of her strong character and a testament to her commitment to upholding the laws of our country for future generations.”

Ivey warned against a future Biden administration potentially packing the court to undo Trump’s reshaping of the Court.

“Previous suggestions from progressives that we need to fundamentally change the court system is a clear attempt at a political power grab to load the bench with judicial activists, not arbiters of the law,” the Governor said. “In the words of the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, ‘Nine seems to be a good number…it would be that – one side saying – when we’re in power, we’re going to enlarge the number of judges, so we would have more people who would vote the way we want them to.’”

Ivey thanked President Donald J. Trump (R) for his choise of Barrett to replace the deceased Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

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“I thank the president for this extraordinary selection,” Ivey said. “It is evident that President Trump has put forward a woman who is arguably one of the most qualified picks during the past century. Alabama looks forward to Justice Barrett serving our country with honor and integrity for decades to come. It is my hope and prayer that despite political differences, we can celebrate the tremendous accomplishments of our newest Supreme Court Justice, come together as a nation and continue achieving great success.”

Congressman Mo Brooks (R-Huntsville) said, “Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation today marks a huge win for those of us who believe judges must uphold the Constitution and federal law without inserting personal political views into decisions.”

“In her nomination acceptance speech, Amy Coney Barrett simply explained her judicial philosophy by saying, ‘Judges are not policymakers, and they must be resolute in setting aside any policy views they might hold.’ This perfectly incapsulates the philosophy America needs more of on our federal courts,” Brooks explained. “America’s Founding Fathers brilliantly created three branches of government, with each being a check on the other two, and each having a defined role. Congress makes law, the Executive Branch implements law, and the Judiciary interprets and applies law. In my view, America is burdened with too many liberal, activist federal justices and judges who fail to abide by their role as limited by the Constitution. I am pleased President Trump nominated and the U.S. Senate confirmed a judge who understands the importance of limiting her role to that intended by America’s founding fathers.”

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“The Senate held a final confirmation vote tonight to confirm Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court,” Congresswoman Martha Roby (R-Montgomery) announced. “I wish my sincere congratulations to Judge Barrett on her new position serving on the highest court in the land.”

“I send my heartiest congratulations to the new Justice Barrett,” Congressman Gary Palmer (R-Hoover) said. “President Trump could not have chosen a better candidate for the Supreme Court. Her impeccable legal record, faithfulness to the Constitution, and steady demeanor during her Senate hearings all indicate that she will serve our country with distinction and integrity. The confirmation of an eminently qualified, fair, and constitutionalist justice should instill confidence in the American people. I believe that Justice Barrett will refrain from being swayed by the political winds, and that she will enforce the laws as written, reserving the act of legislating to the Congress. I look forward to her service on our nation’s highest court and extend my congratulations to her and her family.”

“I expect great things from Justice Barrett,” said Second Congressional District candidate Barry Moore (R-Enterprise). “She is an incredibly qualified jurist, and her position on the Constitution and the role of the Supreme Court as the final interpreters of the law, not makers of new laws, will be welcome on the Court.”

“She will be a strong voice for common-sense, Constitutional interpretation of laws for years to come,” Moore predicted. “I’m happy that President Trump did his duty to fill vacancies on the Court as they occur by appointing her rapidly. I’m also happy that the Senate moved forward in a timely manner to confirm her. Now Judge Barrett can take her place as the ninth Justice, and spare us the problems of an evenly-split Court. Given all that’s happened recently, I’d be very surprised if one of Judge Barrett’s first cases didn’t involve issues with the general election on November 3rd. I trust her to rule fairly, and I’m hoping that any issues about the election can be settled quickly by the Court.”

Alabama Republican Party Chairman Terry Lathan said, “Once again, the U.S. Senate has confirmed one of President Donald Trump’s eminently qualified nominees to the United States Supreme Court. Amy Coney Barrett is an excellent addition to the high court. A jurist out of the originalist model, Justice Barrett will decide each case on its merits by overlaying it with the Constitution and not legislating from the bench.”

“We offer our thanks to Senator Richard Shelby who consistently listens to the majority of his constituents,” Lathan continued. “Senator Shelby wisely considered Justice Barrett’s sterling credentials and voted ‘yes’ on her confirmation.”

“Trump Team Leader and former State Rep. Perry O. Hooper Jr. said, “This is an Historic Victory for President Trump. This is the third US Supreme Court Justice appointed by the President and confirmed by the US Senate. The President promised he would appoint Conservative Constitutionalist to the US Supreme Court and the President’s promises were kept. This confirmation also confirms Senate Majority Leader, Mitch McConnell’s Legacy by confirming another Conservative Jurist.”

Hooper’s father, Perry Hooper Sr. was the first Republican Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court since Reconstruction ending over one hundred years of Democratic Party dominance of the state’s highest court.

“I’m thrilled the Supreme Court will have another Constitutional originalist Justice and the Senate has confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to be Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court,” said Club for Growth President David McIntosh. “Justice Barrett will be a pro-growth Justice, her judicial philosophy will have a positive impact on limiting agency overregulation, and her confirmation bodes well for economic liberty and property rights. Throughout her confirmation it became clear that the more Americans learn about Barrett, the more they like her, and the confirmation of such an accomplished pragmatic originalist stands in stark contrast to the liberals who want to remake American institutions like the Supreme Court to fit their radical socialist views.”

Judge Barrett currently serves as a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit and formerly clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia of the U.S. Supreme Court and Judge Laurence Silberman of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. Prior to serving on the federal bench, she began teaching as a professor of law at Notre Dame Law School, where she was awarded the “Distinguished Professor of the Year” award on three separate occasions. She is a devout Catholic and mother of seven, including two adopted Haitian children. She is President Trump’s third Supreme Court appointment.

Justice Clarence Thomas administered the oath of office to Justice Barrett in a ceremony at the White House Monday night.

Some commentators have suggested that this new court is the most conservative High Court the country has seen since the 1930s.

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