Alabama voters will decide changes to the state judiciary in March 2020

Alabama voters will decide the fate of a constitutional amendment about the state judiciary during the March 2020 presidential primary.
On May 14, 2019, the state House gave final approval to a constitutional amendment to revise the article concerning the state judiciary. The vote referred the amendment—Senate Bill 216—to the March 2020 ballot. The amendment would make changes throughout sections of the state constitution related to the judiciary. Notable changes include:
  • Removing the authority to appoint an administrative director of courts from the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and give it to the Alabama Supreme Court as a whole;
  • increasing the membership of the Judicial Inquiry Commission; and
  • repealing provisions which provide for the impeachment of Supreme Court Justices and appellate judges and the removal of various state and local judges.


The state Senate unanimously approved the amendment on April 30. The state House considered a change to increase the mandatory retirement age after which a judge cannot run for another term from 70 to 75. The proposed retirement age amendment to Senate Bill 216 was rejected. The state House approved the amendment 92-6 on May 14, 2019.
This amendment was the 25th statewide measure to be certified for 2020 across the country. It was the first to be certified for the 2020 ballot in Alabama. From 1997 to 2018, the number of measures on statewide ballots in Alabama during even-numbered years ranged from four to 15. The average was eight.
Additional reading: