JUDICIAL TENURE, BIENNIAL SESSIONS, AND REMOVAL
OF THE CAPITAL AMENDMENTS, 1819-1846
Agitation for amending the Constitution of 1819 began with the first session of the state legislature and centered around the conservative judiciary article of the constitution. Those who had failed to limit the tenure of judges in the convention were now determined to do so by amendment. In 1819, an amendment providing for four-year tenure was introduced, but failed to pass.1 From this time until the legislature submitted the question to the people in 1828, a proposed amendment for limited tenure for judges was before almost every legislature.
Limited tenure for judges was hastened by an unpopular decision of the Alabama Supreme Court in 1827. In 1818 the Alabama territorial legislature had passed a law removing all restrictions on interest rates in the state.2 After the removal of restrictions interest rates soared, and in 1819 the legislature repealed the law of 1818 and limited interest rates to eight per cent.3 In 1824, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled that in contracts made under the law of 1818 any stated rate of interest might be collected to maturity, but that in case the note was not paid at maturity____________________