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Hartselle Enquirer

Butts bows out of supreme court race

By Staff
Bob Ingram, Alabama Scene
MONTGOMERY-The political career of Terry Butts, which has taken a lot of twists and turns, took another one a few days ago. Butts announced he would not seek any state office in 2006 but was retiring from politics to spend more time with his family.
Butts was elected to the State Supreme Court in the mid-1990s but inexplicably resigned from that seat in mid-term to make an unsuccessful race for attorney general.
More recently he played a high-profile role as an attorney for Bob Riley in the wrangling that went on between Riley and Don Siegelman in the days and weeks following the 2002 gubernatorial election. Still later he was one of the attorneys who represented Roy Moore in his prolonged Ten Commandments legal fight.
It was that exposure that led to speculation…fed in part by him…that he would be a Moore-backed candidate for state office in 2006…either for lieutenant governor or perhaps attorney general again.
Now comes his announcement that he has enjoyed all the politics he can stand and will run no more.
Considered to be the front runners for the post are former chairman Joe Turnham of Auburn and former U. S. Atty. Doug Jones of Birmingham. Also making known his desire to be chairman is former State Sen. Tom Radney of Alex City, but he has not campaigned as actively as the other two.
It is assumed that Jones may be running with the backing of former Gov. Don Siegelman because he has represented him in several cases since he stepped down as the chief federal prosecutor for North Alabama. He had been named to that post by President Clinton.
The new chairman will be taking office on the eve of a pivotal election.
Not only are all the constitutional offices up for grabs next year, but also five seats on the State Supreme Court, all of which are now held by Republicans.
Not surprisingly, the trustee seat in question is held by Bobby Lowder of Montgomery, who is like a lightning rod as far as controversy is concerned.
It is confusing, but here is the question: Lowder's first term of 12 years expired in 1995 but it was not until 1999 that he was confirmed for a second term. He served four years without being officially confirmed. At issue now is when did his second term begin…in 1995 or 1999? If it began in '95 then his present term would expire in 2007…but AU officials have determined it didn't begin until he was actually confirmed by the Senate in 1999, hence it will not expire until 2011. Lowder critics…and they are many and loud…are most upset by this decision.
The 67-year-old Myers said he wanted to devote more time to his family, but he also admitted being frustrated at times by legislative proceedings.
Myers is the latest of a number of long-time legislators who have announced they will retire at the end of their present terms. Included on that list are Sen. Tommy Ed Roberts, D-Hartselle; Rep. Tommy Carter, D-Elkmont, and Rep. Nelson Starkey, D-Florence.
Heading the class of '05 was U. S. Sen. Richard Shelby who has served in the Senate since 1986. Other inductees were Fred Gray, a civil rights lawyer in Tuskegee; Ted Kennedy of Birmingham, founder of BE&K, an engineering and construction firm; and Gail A. Trechsel, director of the Birmingham Museum of Art.
The Academy of Honor was founded in 1968 to recognize living Alabamians who have made major contributions to the state.

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