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FRIDAY, APRIL 21, 2006
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EDITORIAL

Political fights in Alabama don't require Democrats

Many Democrats in Alabama complain that their votes in statewide and federal elections don't really count. The GOP stranglehold on the state is such that election results in those races are a foregone conclusion. The only question answered at the polls is how great a margin of victory the Republican candidate carries.

But Democrats can take consolation in the fact that the state's Republicans love to beat each other up. Maybe it's a dearth of Democratic targets that inspires GOP politicians to bicker, squabble and demean each other.

Take the Alabama Supreme Court, for example. All the justices are Republicans. So, if they want to pick a fight, they must do it within GOP ranks.

In the most recent brouhaha, GOP Justice Tom Woodall, who is seeking a second term on the high court, said to THE DAILY editorial board of his primary opponent, Henry P. "Hank" Fowler: "It irritates me that nobody respectable will run against me in the primaries."

Ouch.

Justice Woodall referred to Mr. Fowler as "one of Tom Parker's flunkies."

Tom Parker, of course, is a Republican protégé of former Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, a Republican. Justice Parker is running against incumbent Chief Justice Drayton Nabers in the primary.

Mr. Fowler took exception to Justice Woodall's "flunky" characterization, and responded by attacking Justice Woodall's vote in a unanimous decision in December to commute the death sentence of Renaldo Adams to life in prison without parole. Mr. Adams was a juvenile at the time he committed his crime, and the court — minus Justice Parker, who recused himself because he had been involved in the prosecution of the case — unanimously relied on a U.S. Supreme Court opinion holding that the execution of a defendant for a crime committed as a juvenile is unconstitutional.

Basically, a bunch of Republicans are beating each other up over a disagreement about the propriety of executing a teenager.

Democrats may not have much voice in Alabama politics. But nothing prevents them from being amused at Republican antics.

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