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Justice See won't seek third term on state court

MONTGOMERY (AP) — Alabama Supreme Court Justice Harold See says he will not seek a third term on the high court when his seat comes up for election next year.

The 63-year-old See, whose current term ends in January 2009, is one of eight Republicans on the nine-member court. His seat is the only Supreme Court post on next year's ballot.

"I have run for the court in the past because I felt some calling to do that," See told the Press-Register in a story Tuesday. "I have really felt a calling not to do that after 2009."

See was first elected to the court in 1996 when he unseated incumbent Democrat Kenneth Ingram in an expensive race, with Karl Rove directing See's campaign, which received heavy support from the business community. The race was remembered partly for an ad in which Ingram's campaign compared See to a skunk.

"I guess I didn't fully understand how harsh some of the campaigning might be," See said. "That was just further evidence that we would be doing something different. I look back on it as a great deal of work."

But meaningful work."

Rove also managed See's 2000 campaign for chief justice, when he was defeated by then-Etowah County Circuit Judge Roy Moore, who was riding a wave of support for fighting to display a plaque with the Ten Commandments in his courtroom. In 2002, See won re-election to his associate justice seat.

See has sent a letter to supporters saying he had made a "prayerful" decision not to seek re-election next year.

"My decision has been all the more difficult because of the privilege I am foregoing of once again working with you on a campaign for the future of Alabama," See said in the letter, dated July 26.

Lauderdale District Judge Deborah Bell Paseur, a Democrat, said Monday she is organizing for the race. Alabama Republican Party Chairman Mike Hubbard said no Republicans have come forward expressing interest yet.

"I hate that he's not running," Hubbard said. "He's been a tremendous asset on the Supreme Court and been a model for good common sense. He came at a time when sensibility needed to return to the bench."

Alabama Democratic Party Executive Director Jim Spearman said there is the potential for many Democratic candidates to come forward. He said See was tagged as being in the corner of big business "and that's something the people of Alabama don't need."

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Information from: Press-Register, http://www.al.com/mobileregister

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

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