News from the Tennessee Valley State, Local and National news
FRIDAY, MARCH 16, 2007

Justice won't reconsider ruling on Riley appointment

MOBILE (AP) — The Justice Department has refused to reconsider its ruling that Gov. Bob Riley's appointment of a black Republican to a Mobile County commission seat violated the rights of minority voters in a majority black district that historically has elected Democrats.

Riley appointed Juan Chastang in November 2005 to fill the commission seat vacated by Sam Jones, a black Democrat who was elected mayor of Mobile.

Democrats in Mobile County, who sued over the appointment, have already asked for Chastang to be removed from office and a replacement selected by special election, but the state can still appeal to the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

The state has until March 21 to file that appeal.

Attorney General Troy King, who is representing the state in the case, did not immediately announced his next move. The Voting Rights Act requires several states, including Alabama, to obtain Justice Department pre-clearance before changing voting laws to make sure black residents do not lose any clout in the electorate because of the change.

In August 2006 a three-judge federal panel in Montgomery ruled that the state did indeed violate the Voting Rights Act.

Copyright 2005 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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