New Alabama Supreme Court Justice Nominated

Alabama Republicans have made their selection for who they want to represent them in the state Supreme Court — Justice Sarah Stewart.

The state Supreme Court entered the national political discussion last month after a decision they handed down that ruled that frozen embryos are considered children.

In securing the GOP nomination, Stewart took down Bryan Taylor, who is a former Alabama state senator and who served as a legal adviser to two of the state’s former governors.

In the general election in November, Stewart will face off against Democrat Greg Griffin, who is a circuit judge from Montgomery, Alabama.

The two are running for a seat that will be open after the current justice is retiring because of state age limits that are in place.

Stewart was one justice who ruled that couples in the state could pursue a lawsuit for wrongful death of a minor child after their frozen embryos were destroyed in an accident that happened at a fertility clinic where they were being stored.

The decision by the state Supreme Court caused much furor in the state and throughout the country as well. Many groups are concerned about how fertility clinics might be affected by these new civil liabilities.

Many women in the state also had their fertility appointments canceled, and their potential chances of becoming parents put into question, following the decision by three major clinics in Alabama pausing all IVF services after the decision was handed down.

Democrats throughout the country are using the Alabama decision to rally the base, portraying it as a prime example of what extreme conservatives could do if they’re in charge following the landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision of Roe v. Wade being overturned last summer.

Lawmakers in Alabama have debated legislation that would potential shield fertility clinics from legal liability. In fact, on the same day that the primary election was held, the state House and Senate passed protections for IVF.

Now that each separate chamber of the state Legislature has passed separate bills, they’ll need to work on a unified version that can pass both chambers before it can be sent to the governor’s desk for a signature.

For her part, Stewart joined the concurring opinion that was written by Associate Justice Greg Shaw that the state’s wrongful death law covers “an unborn child with no distinction between in vitro and in utero.”

Shaw said that all three branches of Alabama’s government must follow a provision in the state constitution that was added in 2018 that says it must recognize “the rights of unborn children.”

In the concurring opinion, Chief Justice Tom Parker cited Christian theologians and Bible verses, which caused much alarm among advocates for the separation of church and state.

Alabama’s chief justice serves on the high court and is also the administrative head of the court system in the state.

But, Parker isn’t able to run for his position again because state law prohibits any judge from being appointed or elected once they reach the age of 70.