Congresswoman Terri Sewell

Representing the 7th District of Alabama

Rep. Sewell Statement on Alabama Lawsuit Challenging Statewide Method for Judge Elections

Sep 12, 2016
Press Release

Washington, D.C. – Today, Congresswoman Sewell released the following statement in response to a lawsuit filed on behalf of Alabama Chapter of the NAACP and four black Alabama voters by the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law challenging the at-large method of electing judges to the three highest courts in the State of Alabama:

“This lawsuit marks another example of discriminatory voting practices in the state of Alabama. The state’s long history of voter suppression, and egregious discrimination against people of color, demands diversity at all levels of Alabama’s judicial system. As a result of Alabama’s at-large method of election used for the Alabama Supreme Court, the Court of Criminal Appeals and Court of Civil Appeals, African American voters have been denied the opportunity to elect a candidate of their choice to these courts for more than 20 years. An all-white court is not representative of the diversity of the people of Alabama.

“Our struggle to reduce barriers to voting requires that we continue to fight against discriminatory election practices that silence the voices of African Americans, and other voters of color. Alabama is one of only a handful of states that continues the old practice of electing appellate judges by statewide elections. This practice has run its course and single member districts are needed now to ensure that African Americans and other minority voters have equal access to the voting process.

 “As Co-Chair of the Congressional Voting Rights Caucus, I will continue to fight for legislation that restores the Voting Rights Act of 1965; such as the bill I introduced—H.R. 2867 – The Voting Rights Advancement Act of 2015.  Our right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy and it must be protected at all costs.”