By Joey Kennedy
Alabama Political Reporter
Oh, the stuff to write about. I’ve told this story before, but it deserves retelling:
The late, great Ron Casey, editorial page editor at The Birmingham News before dying unexpectedly after speaking to a journalism class at Samford University early in 2000, had a saying that went something like this:
“If you want to write about fine wines, move to France. If you want to write political opinion, move to Alabama.”
I miss Ron every day. We just named our baby pug Casey, in memory of Ron. Ron taught me more about opinion writing than any other person. He’s right about Alabama: We columnists are never at a loss for topics to write about in this State.
Mike Hubbard doesn’t get a gimme: The former speaker of the Alabama House, the most powerful position in Alabama politics, was thrown out of office in disgrace earlier this year after being convicted of 12 counts of corruption. He’s been sentenced to four years in state prison, nearly two decades of probation and some fines.
Instead of being contrite, Hubbard continues to stubbornly claim his innocence. And, of course, he has appealed.
The first step in that was to ask for a new trial before Lee County Circuit Judge Jacob A. Walker III. A hearing on juror misconduct was held over the summer, and by not making a decision, the retrial was denied automatically on Sept. 6. Still, Walker this week decided that Hubbard’s juror misconduct appeal had no merit because the jury split the verdict (convicting on 12 counts and acquitting on 11). Walker said the jury didn’t decide the case through bias, reported APR’s Chip Brownlee.
So now, Hubbard’s appeal moves to the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. He’ll likely lose there, too, and at the state Supreme Court as well. Hubbard is going to serve his time, but it may be after he’s an old man.
Hubbard should toss it in, apologize to Alabama voters and taxpayers for his crimes, and start serving his sentence. He earned it.
Roy Moore continues pouting after losing his job: Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore continued putting his religious beliefs above enforcing the law, so he was effectively removed from the court a second time in his Chief Justice career.
Once before, Moore was tossed from the court for refusing to remove a gaudy Ten Commandments monument from the State Judicial Building. This time, Moore refused to follow an order from the US Supreme Court that legalized marriage equality.
Moore wasn’t technically removed from the court this time; just suspended without pay for the remainder of his term. He was ordered to clean out his office, but like a petulant teen, refuses to do so. Once again, Moore is not following a judge’s order — this time from Associate Justice Lyn Stuart in her role as acting chief justice.
Moore’s not going to learn his lesson; he believes he is above the law. He never had the temperament to even be the most lowly jurist; he certainly didn’t have it to be Alabama’s top judge. Twice. With Moore, it’s all about Moore (sounds Trumpy, doesn’t it?).
Moore, too, is appealing. But at least he can’t run for Chief Justice again. He’s aging out.
Democrats in Alabama should be having a field day: With the State’s top three Republican elected officials (Gov. Robert Bentley, Hubbard and Moore) in dire consequences, and a Republican controlled Legislature that gets nothing of significance done, it normally would be easy for the opposite party to make gains.
The problem in Alabama: The Alabama Democratic Party is in shambles. That falls directly at the feet of longtime leader Joe Reed, who would rather be a big fish in a little pond than a small fish in a big pond.
So House Minority Leader Craig Ford (D-Gadsden) has written a letter to Reed and Democratic Party chair Nancy Worley asking both to step down as leaders. They should. But they won’t.
In a year when Republicans have nominated the most unfit candidate ever for president — the sexual predator and bigot Donald Trump — State Democrats should be in a strong position. But even with everything wrong Republicans have done, Democrats have done wronger. (OK, that might not be a word, but I’m using it.)
Finally, from the “When-Hell-Freezes-Over Department”: Democratic US Senate Candidate Ron Crumpton is after Republican US Senator-for-Life Richard Shelby because Shelby’s re-election campaign maintains that despite all of Donald Trump’s baggage, including serious accusations of sexual misconduct, “Senator Shelby has always said that he will support the Republican ticket.”
Even if that ticket is led by a bigot, misogynist, xenophobe, sexual predator and, probably, a fascist?
As Crumpton said in a story by APR’s Brandon Moseley, “Why would Dick Shelby support a man that goes against everything Shelby claims he has supported his entire career in politics? Why would Dick Shelby stand beside a man who is totally unqualified to be president?”
Because, Mr. Crumpton, he’s Dick Shelby, and all he cares about is winning another term. For life.
Joey Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize winner, writes this column every week for Alabama Political Reporter. Email: [email protected]