Monday, March 21, 2005
On this day:

Alabama's "Road Back from Tort Hell"

Just came across this white paper written prior to last fall's election, in which Cumberland Law School Professor Michael DeBow discusses the notable changes in judicial philosophy that have occurred on the Alabama Supreme Court during the past decade. A good read, if you're interested in such things.

It would be difficult to find a state supreme courtthat has changed more in the last decade than theAlabama Supreme Court. In 1994, all nine justices on the court were Democrats – including two conservative,traditionally-minded jurists. Today, on the eveof the 2004 general election, the court is composed of eight Republicans and one Democrat – and it is possible that after the election all the justices will be Republicans.

The Alabama Supreme Court of 1994 was identified in the minds of many with a litigation climate in the state that was hostile to defendants – particularly corporate defendants...

The Alabama Supreme Court of 2004 follows amuch more conservative judicial philosophy – one which understands the judicial function as necessarily bound up with the protection of the rule of law, and the separation of powers among the different branches of state government.