Alabama commission dissolves judicial seat won by Black woman
Alabama commission dissolves judicial seat two weeks after Black woman wins the election.
Southern Poverty Law Center reports
Tiara Young Hudson was on track to be the first public defender to serve as a judge on the Jefferson County circuit court, and the first Black woman with a background as a public defender to serve on the bench anywhere in Alabama.
Just over two weeks later a state commission, divided along racial lines, dissolved the judgeship Hudson had effectively won.
First, Circuit Judge Clyde Jones resigned from the seat, eight days after the May 24 primary and seven months before the end of his term. That gave the Judicial Resources Allocation Commission (JRAC) – created by Alabama’s Republican-dominated Legislature in 2017 – the opportunity to consider transferring his seat.
The next week, the commission voted to permanently relocate the seat from Jefferson County, where the crime rate is the highest in Alabama, to majority-white Madison County. All three Black members of the commission voted against transferring the judgeship. All eight white members voted in favor.
The chairman of JRAC called the move a simple matter of filling a need in Madison County. But the transfer of the judgeship, the first by the commission since it was created, has been met with overwhelming objections. At a JRAC meeting before the vote, members of the public testified that the move strips a county with a substantial Black population of a critical resource and gives that resource to a county where white people comprise nearly 70% of the population (as opposed to 48% in Jefferson County).
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