The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

Local News

November 2, 2012

Moore, Vance face off in chief justice race


Four of the justices who were on the court at that time have endorsed the 51-year-old Vance, who said he would quit as chief justice before he would defy an order from a federal judge.

"If I'm subject to a court order, I comply with that order," Vance said.

Since August, Vance has been able to raise a little more than $1 million total, according to campaign finance reports. Moore has been in the race about eight months longer and has raised about $600,000.

Moore said as chief justice he won't worry about what has happened in the past, but will concentrate on keeping the courts running in the face of funding shortages that have hit in recent years.

"You should always keep the courts open," he said. During his term as chief justice, Moore had, at times, a tumultuous relationship with the Democrat-controlled Legislature. But Moore said he expects smoother sailing with the current Republican-controlled House and Senate.

Vance said his top priority also will be the court funding issue.

"This is a real problem," Vance said of the financial crisis facing the courts. He said he has a "good working relationship with judges across the state and will work with them to keep courts open.

"But I want to make it clear there is no magic solution. I can't come up with a pot of gold," he said. He said he would work with legislators to find adequate funding for courts.

He said he would visit every judicial circuit in Alabama to discover their specific problems such as having a court backlog or not having enough judges.

Vance said his father was a great influence on him as a judge.

"I was a teenager when he became a federal judge. He took that responsibility very seriously," Vance said.

Vance has outspent Moore even though he has been in the race less than three months. Moore, who refuses to take money from political action committees, said he has been outspent in other races.

He said when he ran unsuccessfully for governor in 2006 and 2010 "I didn't have enough money to run for governor."

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