Is the fat lady singing for Roy Moore?
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY – You have to believe the legal eagles of the Alabama Democratic Party are already poring over the law books and party rules to see what their recourse would be if the trial of Don Siegelman has not come to a conclusion by June 6, the day of the Democratic primary.
That they may face this unprecedented question became more pressing last week when U. S. District Judge Mark Fuller, who will hear the case in Montgomery, told the newly selected members of the jury that the trial may last six weeks. If Judge Fuller is correct this would mean the case would not end until after the primary.
The worst-case scenario would be that Siegelman is convicted after the primary. What if he had already won the nomination? Would the committee handpick the nominee or call a special primary? They might be reluctant to do any handpicking after the Baxley-Graddick fiasco of 1986.
Obviously, the script the state Democrats would much prefer is that a decision will be reached before the election. Chip Hill, a spokesman for Siegelman, said he was confident that would happen. He predicted the trial would last no more than four weeks.
This optimistic view was not shared by former Atty. Gen. Bill Baxley, who is representing former Transportation Director Mack Roberts in the trial. With the number of witnesses expected to be called, Baxley fears the trial could extend beyond election day.
Last October a poll showed Riley leading by a 44 percent to 25 percent margin; in February it was 56 percent to 28 percent for Riley, and last week the numbers were even more brutal (64 to 20).
USA Pollster Keith Nicholls summed it up thusly: "It appears Moore's campaign has tanked … the fat lady may not have sung for him but she is warming up."
Associate Justice Tom Woodall of the Supreme Court, in an interview with the Decatur Daily, not only called his fellow justice Tom Parker "cowardly and deceitful" but also suggested he was not doing the work expected of him on the court.
Woodall was upset with an op-ed piece written by Parker some weeks ago in which he criticized his fellow members of the high court for a decision they wrote regarding the death sentence for defendants who were under 18.
Woodall admitted that after reading the Parker column he had called him up an "cussed him out."
Both men are on the ballot this June but are not running against each other. Woodall is running for reelection, Parker is running for chief justice.
If you enjoy hearing wonderful stories from the distant past in Alabama politics, you should have been at a luncheon in Montgomery last week which was a belated birthday party for Jimmy Faulkner of Bay Minette. Faulkner, a legendary community newspaperman and later a major player in Alabama politics, turned 90 a few weeks ago. State Sen. Wendell Mitchell, D-Luverne, sponsored the event.
Mitchell is affiliated with Faulkner University, a booming institution of higher learning in Montgomery.
Most of the fun at the luncheon came from the tale-swapping between Faulkner and former Gov. John Patterson. It was Patterson who defeated Faulkner in the 1958 governor's race but their political rivalry turned into a long and warm friendship.