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Incoming Judge Has Big Shoes To Fill

By Representative Darrio Melton

Last week, US District Judge Myron Thompson went on senior status, which will reduce his caseload and allow President Obama to appoint a new federal judge to Alabama’s middle district.

Judge Thompson is well known for many important decisions, especially standing up against Judge Roy Moore and blocking a section of Alabama’s immigration law that forced individuals to prove residency before purchasing or renewing mobile home tags.

Thompson’s commentary on the bingo trial exposed the blatantly racist comments by Senator Scott Beason and Representative Benjamin Lewis. His commentary was also used in the US Supreme Court in arguments to uphold the Voting Rights Act.

Thompson is also on the three-judge panel who will rule on the fairness of Alabama’s new legislative districts, which are under suit by the Legislative Black Caucus and others for being illegally drawn.

As Thompson is stepping back and reducing his case load, I am confident that President Obama will appoint a judge who will do this historic seat justice. Before Thompson was appointed by President Jimmy Carter, Judge Frank Johnson held the seat.

Judge Johnson is best known for ruling in favor of Rosa Parks and against Governor George Wallace when he attempted to block the voting rights march in Selma. Johnson also made many important rulings to preserve “one person, one vote” in Alabama’s voting laws, preventing attempts to dilute or suppress the African American vote in the 1960s.

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From the rulings that have come from this judicial seat in the past 50 years, it’s not hard to see why it’s important to have fair judges who treat all people equally under the law.

I trust that President Obama will appoint a judge who will continue to prevent attacks on individual rights in Alabama. From the ongoing redistricting suit to the next attacks on Alabamians’ rights, we need a federal judge who will follow in the footsteps of Johnson and Thompson to protect our rights under the Constitution.

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