POPULAR ELECTION OF JUDGES AND OTHER PROPOSED
CONSTITUTIONAL CHANGES BEFORE 1861
Although the judiciary article was amended in 1830 so as to limit the tenure of judges to six years, agitation soon began for election of judges by the people.1 The demand for popular election of judges increased as Jacksonian democracy, which advocated the election of all officials by the people, strengthened its hold on the state. Additional pressure arose after Georgia and Mississippi provided for popular election.2 In Alabama, advocates of popular election first wanted county judges and later all judges elected by the people. The people defeated a proposed amendment for popular election of county judges in August, 1843.3 In August, 1849, the question of the election of county and circuit judges by the people was submitted to popular vote.4 The resolution of the legislature submitting the proposals provided for separate votes on the two issues.
Opponents of popular election of judges raised the question of the independence of the judiciary. They charged that the people were turbulent and unstable and would elect demagogues to the judgeships.5
A conservative article in the Huntsville Democrat said:
It would bring judges, the mere creatures of the popular will, directly in contact with litigants. . . . Making the people the electors, he has, in every instance, his partisans or his opposers before him. To what extent his conduct would be influenced by such circumstances, may be easily conjectured. . . . It would expose the judiciary to all evil tendencies of party politics. At