Posted by William Nunnelley on 2006-02-10

BIRMINGHAM,  Ala.--- With 2006 being another critical election year for judgeships in Alabama and across the country, what, if anything, should be changed about the way judges are elected and appointed?  Compelling arguments from many points of view are gaining momentum about the best and fairest ways to appoint and elect judges in the nation's legal system.

"Rethinking Strategies for Judicial Reform" will be the discussion topic as Samford University's Cumberland School of Law hosts the spring 2006 meeting of the American Judicature Society (AJS) Feb. 24-25 at Samford.  Sponsoring the conference are the State Bar Associations of Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi, and the League of Women Voters Judicial Independence Project.

The two-day Cumberland Law School conference will focus on judicial reform ideas and concepts including Merit Selection, Public Financing of Judicial Campaigns, and Judicial Campaign Advisory Committees.  Nationally recognized experts participating in the conference include:

  • Bert Brandenberg, Executive Director, Justice at Stake
  • Anthony Champagne, Professor of Political Science, University of Texas at Dallas
  • Sen. Robert Duncan, Texas State Senator
  • Chris Heagerty, Executive Director, The North Carolina Center for Voter Excellence
  •  Frank Simoneaux, President, Louisiana Organization for Judicial Excellence
  • Hon. James Smith, Chief Justice of Mississippi
  • Bryan Stevenson, Executive Director, Equal Justice Initiative of Alabama
  • Hon. Peter Webster, Florida First District Court of Appeals.

"We are honored to host the American Judicature Society's conference here at Samford," said John L. Carroll, Cumberland Law School dean and the Ethel P. Malugen professor of law.  "The topic of judicial reform keeps building in momentum and public debate, and the outcome of this conference could well help shape the direction of strategies on the issue going forward." 

The AJS, founded in 1913, is an independent, national, nonpartisan organization of judges, lawyers, and other members of the public who seek to improve the justice system.  AJS, which brings a public perspective to justice system issues, has the mission to secure and promote an independent and qualified judiciary and fair system of justice.

For registration information, please visit


Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. The Wall Street Journal ranks Samford 1st nationally for student engagement and U.S. News & World Report ranks Samford 66th in the nation for best undergraduate teaching and 104th nationally for best value. Samford enrolls 5,683 students from 47 states and 19 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference, and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.