Court: Elmore County lawyer can’t seek judgeship

Published 10:14 pm Thursday, April 8, 2010

An Elmore County resident’s efforts to run for the circuit court judgeship from Chilton County were denied by the Alabama Supreme Court.

Jerry Blevins, who operates a law office in Montgomery, challenged the state law that Circuit 19 draws one judge from each of the circuit’s three counties—Chilton, Autauga and Elmore.

The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the ruling of the Montgomery Circuit Court that the law does not violate the state’s constitution.

“Obviously, I’m disappointed with the state ruling,” Blevins said. “I think it does an injustice to the voters of the 19th Circuit.

“My only recourse at this point would be to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to review it, and I’m considering that now.”

Of the 16 circuits in the state that comprise more than one county, Circuit 19 is the only that requires one judge be elected from each county. Judges in the other circuits are elected at-large from the area they encompass.

The change was made with an amendment to the state constitution in 2008.

Sibley Reynolds is the judge elected from Chilton County to serve in the 19th Circuit.

Blevins contended the law violates his right to Equal Protection as provided by the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, but the Supreme Court ruled otherwise.

“The residency requirement … does not substantially diminish the field of candidates, nor does it discriminate based on political affiliation or viewpoint,” Justice Glenn Murdock wrote in the opinion, which all justices concurred with. “It treats all candidates in the 19th Judicial Circuit equally and all voters in the 19th Judicial Circuit equally.”