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Opinion | Steve Marshall’s 2019 was one of the worst in Alabama history

Attorney General Steve Marshall speaks on a proposed rewrite of the state ethics laws. (Chip Brownlee/APR)

Steve Marshall might just be Alabama’s worst attorney general — ever. 

To be certain, he’s an awful AG. And I only pause in calling him the absolute worst in this state’s history because Alabama has had more than its share of God-awful AGs through the years. 

Marshall, though, is making a real run at the crown. 

To be clear, I do not say this simply because our politics don’t align. The office of the AG in any state mostly handles business that makes party irrelevant. And the best AGs out there set partisan politics aside and simply do the job. 

Hell, even Luther Strange — the biggest sellout in the history of sellouts — managed to mostly set partisan politics aside and do his job. 

Not Marshall, though. 

Under Marshall, the Alabama AG’s office has been turned into a political pandering workshop, where ridiculous lawsuits and frivolous court filings dominate the time of the staff while the business of the citizens of this state takes a backseat. 

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No time for consumer complaints of fraud or rampant instances of serial pollution taking place around the state, but plenty of time for suing to make sure we keep monuments honoring racists uncovered or trying to keep Hispanics from filling out census forms. 

Honestly, 2019 was one of the worst for an Alabama AG. 

It started with Marshall’s decision to take over what should have been a homicide investigation into the death of EJ Bradford — the young black man who was gunned down in the Galleria by overzealous cops. When that decision was made, pretty much everyone knew the eventual outcome. 

Sure enough, despite video evidence showing Bradford was never a threat — and was instead the “good guy with a gun” at the scene of a shooting — Marshall cleared the cop who murdered Bradford, despite that cop never uttering a command, never pausing to understand the situation and shooting Bradford three times in the back. 

That’s how Steve Marshall started 2019. 

He’ll end it trying to make sure women never have the same rights as men. Not as long as he’s AG. 

Because there’s so little going on in Alabama these days — no real legal matters at all it seems in a state overrun with opioid addiction, political corruption, mass pollution, broken family courts and rampant gun smuggling — that Marshall has committed his office to a lawsuit attempting to block the Equal Rights Amendment from ever being included in the U.S. Constitution. 

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If you’re unfamiliar with the ERA, that’s probably because you’re under the age of 50. Or you just forgot. 

Equal rights for women was a major push back in the mid-1970s, and the ERA came within three states of the 38 required for ratification. It has set on the shelf since then, until two states recently hopped back on board. 

Now, to be clear, even if all 50 states suddenly decided to ratify this thing, there would be plenty of legal questions and Congress would most likely need to get involved. 

And at the end of the day, if it passed, the ERA would simply give women the same rights as men. And it would have eliminated the differences in which men and women are treated in some instances — most notably, some argued, in family court, where mothers wouldn’t have received automatic deference from judges in custody cases. 

But such things weigh heavy on the mind of Steve Marshall. And as such, Alabama became the third state to be party to a federal lawsuit attempting to block the ERA should it ever be ratified by the required number of states. 

None of that makes sense — not from a practical standpoint or a public service standpoint or a political standpoint. 

Practically speaking, this lawsuit will factor absolutely zero into whether the ERA is ratified and adopted. And joining a lawsuit to block it does zero to aid anyone living in Alabama. 

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And politically, the only possible voting bloc which would be energized by such a lawsuit would be white, conservative men, which, last I checked, were a fairly strong lean to Republicans in this state. 

Which means there’s only one way to explain it. 

Steve Marshall is one of the worst AGs in the history of this state.


Josh Moon is an investigative reporter and featured columnist at the Alabama Political Reporter with years of political reporting experience in Alabama. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.

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