MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) – A lawsuit over a judgeship transfer from Jefferson County to Madison County has been dismissed.
Friday night, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Jimmy B. Pool dismissed a lawsuit brought by the Southern Poverty Law Center and American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Jefferson County Circuit Judge candidate Tiara Hudson.
The suit was brought over a circuit judgeship transfer from Jefferson County to Madison County in June. Hudson, a Jefferson County public defender, won the Democratic primary and faced no Republican opposition in the general election, but may never take the seat.
The lawsuit named Gov. Kay Ivey, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Tom Parker – who announced the judgeship’s relocation to Madison County in June, and Patrick Tuten – the former Madison County district judge whom Ivey appointed to the circuit judgeship in July – as defendants.
Hudson’s lawsuit asked the court to declare the transfer an unconstitutional delegation of authority by the Alabama Legislature.
In his dismissal, Pool stated three reasons for dismissing the complaint.
Firstly, Pool said Hudson sought to oust a sitting circuit judge. Under previous rulings and the Code of Alabama, that can only be done by challenging the sitting judge’s legal right to hold office, which would require a different type of legal challenge.
Second, Pool found Hudson lacked legal standing to challenge the judgeship, saying her legally protected rights weren’t violated with the judgeship moving to Madison County.
Third, Pool said Hudson failed to provide a way for the situation to be remedied.
“The (Alabama) Legislature lawfully established the Judicial Resources Allocation Commission (JRAC) and the Commission lawfully reallocated a circuit judgeship from Jefferson County to Madison County,” the judge wrote.
The judge also found the act creating the JRAC in 2017 ruled out Hudson’s argument that the Legislature unlawfully delegated its authority to the JRAC.
Judge Clyde Jones, who once occupied the seat before the transfer to Madison County, disagreed with the transfer in a statement to News 19 sister station INTERNEWSCAST.
“It’s pretty well a fact that Jefferson County is a Democratic County, and Madison County is a Republican County. I feel very sad for Ms. Hudson to have paid her filing fee, for her to have expended funds campaigning, for her to have campaigned for months, seven days a week, and then all of a sudden that voice of the people is taken away.”
Judge Pool, who issued Friday’s order, is also a Democrat.
At the time of the transfer, the commission cited a caseload analysis that showed Madison County needed more judges and Jefferson County had more than enough judges to handle its caseload.