What is the make-up of the Justices of the Alabama Supreme Court?
September 1, 2023 | View PDF
There may be those that think the Chief Justice and the eight Associate Justices on the Alabama Supreme Court may not be the legal minds as found in the United States Supreme Court. I can assure you that each of them are exceptional as to their backgrounds. They may not on the whole have participated in the Federal judiciary but the brief backgrounds that I will give I think you will find most impressive. These ladies and gentlemen are not only civic minded in serving their state but also community minded in the many ways that they have served their communities which include their religious institutions.
While I do not practice before appellate courts I have had an opportunity to interact with both a former justice and the current Chief Justice. Both, at various meetings approached me during meals asking if they might share dining space. Both were unassuming, extremely down to earth and were more interested in what I had to say than to talk about themselves. I find these individuals to be exceptional people.
Chief Justice, Tom Parker was elected three times as Associate Justice before being elected Chief Justice in 2018. He is a graduate of Dartmouth College and the Vanderbilt Law School and received the Rotary International Fellowship to study law at Brazil’s most prestigious law school. He served with the Attorney General’s office, as General Counsel to the Alabama Court System and as legal advisor to a prior Chief Justice. He also served as Director of the Alabama Judicial College to train elected judges. He has been involved with death penalty cases, criminal appeals and constitutional cases. In private practice he was involved in many high profile constitutional cases.
Justice Greg Shaw obtained his Juris Doctorate from Cumberland School of Law (Samford University) and also a Master of Laws (LLM) from the University of Virginia Law School. He previously served as a staff attorney for two prior Supreme Court justices and as a justice on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals. He has been recognized for many legal positions that he has held. He is also a Master Beekeeper.
Justice Kelli Wise is a graduate of Auburn, has an MPA from AUM and her Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law. She served on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals and was at one time the Presiding Justice. She heads a Division of the Alabama Supreme Court. She has volunteered or been selected to serve in many legal, community based or social organizations.
Justice Tommy Bryan is a graduate of Troy University with both a BS and an MS. He received his Juris Doctorate from Jones School of Law. He worked as a staff attorney for the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, as assistant general counsel for the Attorney General’s office and was later elected to the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. He has been a member of two Alabama State Bar sections and served on some important Supreme Court committees. He is admitted to practice before the Alabama Supreme Court.
Justice William Sellers obtained his undergraduate degree from Hillsdale College, his Juris Doctorate from the University of Alabama and his Masters of Law (LLM) in Tax from New York University. Justice Sellers practiced almost three decades privately, mostly in the business and tax areas. He also has served several committees professionally and in community areas. He has been admitted to serve in multiple Federal courts including the United States Supreme Court.
Justice Brady Mendheim, Jr. is a graduate of Auburn University and of Cumberland School of Law where he received his Juris Doctorate. He practiced in civil legal defense for a time before serving as both an Assistant District Attorney in the Dothan area as well as a Circuit Judge for the 20th Judicial Circuit which encompasses the Dothan area. He has served on the faculty of the Alabama Judicial College and on several legal committees.
Justice Sarah Stewart obtained both her BA and an MA from the University of Arkansas later gaining her Juris Doctorate from Vanderbilt University. She practiced privately almost a decade and a half in the Mobile area later becoming a Circuit Court Judge for thirteen years. She, like her fellow justices has served in several legal related and community or social organizations.
Justice Jay Mitchell is a graduate of Birmingham-Southern College with a BA and obtained an MA from University College in Dublin, Ireland. His Juris Doctorate was gained at the University of Virginia. He worked for a prestigious litigation firm in Alabama for many years, considered a top litigator both state wide and nationally. He too has served legal, community and social organizations.
Finally, Justice Greg Cook is the newest Associate Justice elected in 2022. He obtained his undergraduate degree from Duke University and his Juris Doctorate from Harvard University. He served in the United States Air Force becoming a Captain. While Justice Cook practiced over three decades with a prestigious law firm in Alabama he has also authored several legal treatises. While in private practice he litigated in most of Alabama’s counties and in fifteen states. He has also served the legal profession even within the American, Alabama and Birmingham Bar associations.
As you can see we have an Alabama Supreme Court with well-educated and experienced jurists. It’s hard to believe other states all can have such qualified justices. We can be very proud of our Supreme Court even if we as individuals may not agree with all of their decisions.
This article is informative only and not meant to be all inclusive. Additionally this article does not serve as legal advice to the reader and does not constitute an attorney- client relationship. The reader should seek counsel from their attorney should any questions exist.
"No representation is made that the quality of legal services performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers."