Monday, April 24, 2006

It's hard out here for a judge

Tom Parker, who wants to be chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, has written one original opinion for the court since he became a justice in January 2005. Yes, one.

To say the least, that number compares somewhat unfavorably to the output from the other new justices, Mike Bolin and Patty Smith, who have churned out 38 and 28 opinions, respectively. Parker's GOP primary opponent, Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, handled 24 cases in 2005, even though his caseload is halved due to his obligations as administrator of the state court system.

But Parker, who rode his buddy Roy Moore's Ten Commandments controversy to victory, can explain. You see, it took him a while to hire staffers and get this whole "judging" thing down pat, especially since he'd never been a judge before. Pay no attention to the fact that Justice Champ Lyons somehow wrote 33 opinions in his first year despite also never having been a judge before.

Unsurprisingly, Parker's fellow justices aren't pleased. One is known to have cursed him out this year, and the court is thinking of transferring some of his 73 cases to justices with a track record of writing more than one opinion a year.

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