Alabama: Sometimes Three Branches of Government Aren’t Enough


WC has been in Alabama exactly one time, for less  than five days. Otherwise, the closest he’s been is proximity to Alaska in the alphabet. But the current political crises – and there are a lot of them – in the Yellowhammer State are instructive for those of us in the Pacific Northwest.

Alabama House Speaker Hubbard, failing to defend himself on the stand

Alabama House Speaker Hubbard, failing to defend himself on the stand

Michael Hubbard was the Speaker of the Alabama State House and, by all accounts, a guy with immense amount of juice in the state government. A Republican, he was credited with the GOP’s success in gaining control of the Alabama State House. He was convicted last week on 12 of 23 counts of ethics laws passed by the Republican-controlled state legislature. The conviction automatically stripped Hubbard from office. And the Alabama State House into chaos.

Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Roy S. Moore, refusing to recognize the U.S. Constitution's supremacy clause

Alabama State Supreme Court Justice Roy S. Moore, refusing to recognize the U.S. Constitution’s supremacy clause

That chaos is roughly comparable to what’s going on in the Alabama Supreme Court, where Chief Justice Roy S. Moore, could be removed from office this year because of his efforts to resist same-sex marriage. Chief Justice Moore was suspended from the bench on May 6, 2016, and awaits a hearing and trial by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary for multiple ethics code violations, including abuse of authority and interference with federal-level court rulings and injunctions related to same-sex marriage. Chief Justice Moore has been kicked of the Alabama Supreme Court before, in 2003, for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments (which he had commissioned) from the Alabama Judicial Building despite orders to do so from a federal judge. So the judicial branch is in some chaos as well.

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley (and one weird looking dude), explaining he didn't have sex with that woman

Alabama Governor Robert J. Bentley (and one weird looking dude), explaining he didn’t have sex with that woman

And then there’s Alabama Governor Robert Bentley. He the target of impeachment proceedings, arising out of a the more lurid scandal centering on an alleged sexual relationship between the governor and Rebekah Caldwell Mason, who resigned last week as Mr. Bentley’s senior political adviser. There are indisputably lurid sexual comments. Hearings on the resolution for impeachment are to begin this month. The chaos in the state legislature following Speaker Hubbard’s conviction may delay that, leaving Governor Bentley twisting in the wind.

Speaker Hubbard. Chief Justice Moore and Governor Bentley: all Republicans. All men of principal principle. Each the leader of a branch of the Alabama state government. Each apparently incapable of following the law. Separation of powers isn’t working too well.

Explain to WC again why a Republican-controlled government is better? And when you’re done explaining Alabama, explain Alaska.

 

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One thought on “Alabama: Sometimes Three Branches of Government Aren’t Enough

  1. Shortly after being convicted, Hubbard was released on bail. He and his lawyers remain in a state of denial and have said they’ll appeal the verdict. What seems to have gotten Hubbard into trouble was that although he was earning over $60,000 for a part-time job, has several businesses, and a wife who is employed, he needed more money. I taught high school for 33 years in GA. I have graduate degrees, and I didn’t earn more than $60,000 until I had worked for 30 years. Over-spending, abuse of political power, a lack of ethics, and greed seems to have been the things that destroyed his political career, and the jury saw this as it examined the evidence against him. It’s not a “political witch-hunt” that brought him down as he and his lawyers claims. It was real evidence that showed how he used his position to further enrich himself.

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