House panel votes down nonpartisan judge elections

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) - Bills calling for nonpartisan elections of local and appellate judges have been defeated in an Alabama House committee.

The House Constitution and Elections Committee voted 7-2 Wednesday to defeat a measure by Democratic Rep. Jeff McLaughlin of Guntersville to choose Supreme Court justices and judges for the Court of Criminal Appeals and the Court of Civil Appeals in nonpartisan elections. Candidate names would appear on the ballot without party labels.

A similar bill calling for the election of circuit and district court judges in nonpartisan elections also lost in a 7-2 vote.

Republicans hold an 18-1 margin on the state's appeals courts and opposed the bills.

(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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