THE CONSTITUTION OF 1865


ARTICLE VI.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT

Section 1. The judicial power of this State shall be vested in one supreme court, circuit courts to be held in each county of the State, and such inferior courts of law and equity, to consist of not more than five members, as the General Assembly may, from time to time, direct, ordain, and establish.

Section 2. Except in cases otherwise directed in this constitution, the supreme court shall have appellate jurisdiction only, which shall be co-extensive with the State, under such restrictions and regulations, not repugnant to this constitution, as may from time to time be prescribed by law. Provided, that said court shall have power to issue writs of injunction, mandamus, quo warranto, habeas corpus, and such other remedial and original writs as may be necessary to give it a general superintendence and control of inferior jurisdictions.

Section 3. The supreme court shall be held at the seat of government ; but, if that shall have become dangerous, from an enemy or from disease, may adjourn to a different place.

Section 4. The State shall be divided into convenient circuits, each of which shall contain not less than three, nor more than six counties ; and for each circuit there shall be appointed a judge, who shall, after his appointment, reside in the circuit for which he may be appointed.

Section 5. The circuit court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, within this State, not otherwise excepted in this constitution ; but in civil cases only where the matter or sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars.

Section 6. A circuit court shall be held in each county in the State, at least twice in every year ; and the judges of the several circuits may hold courts for each other when they deem it expedient, and shall do so when directed by law.

Section 7. The General Assembly shall have power to establish a court or courts of chancery, with original and appellate equity jurisdiction. Provided, that the judges of the several circuit courts shall have power to issue writs of injunction, returnable into the courts of chancery.

Section 8. The General Assembly shall have power to establish, in each county within this State, a court of probate, for the granting of letters testamentary, and of administration, and for orphans' business.

Section 9. A competent number of justices of the peace shall be appointed in and for each county, in such mode, and for such term of office, as the General Assembly may by law direct ; whose jurisdiction, in civil cases, shall be limited to causes in which the amount in controversy shall not exceed one hundred dollars ; and in all cases tried by a justice of the peace, the right of appeal shall be secured, under such rules and regulations as may be prescribed by law.

Section 10. The judges of the supreme court, circuit courts, and courts of chancery, shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation, which shall be fixed by law, and which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office ; but they shall receive no fees or perquisites of office, nor hold any office of profit or trust, under this State, the United States, or any other power.

Section 11. Judges of the supreme court, and chancellors, shall be elected by a joint vote of both houses of the General Assembly ; judges of the circuit and probate courts, and of such other inferior courts as may be by law established, shall be elected by the qualified electors of the respective counties, cities, or districts, for which such courts may be established. Elections of judges by the people shall be held on the first Monday in May, or such other day as may be by law prescribed, not within a less period than two months of the day fixed by law for the election of Governor, members of the General Assembly, or members of Congress. Vacancies in the office of circuit judge, probate judge, or judge of any other inferior court established by law, shall be filled by the Governor ; and the person appointed by him shall hold office until the next election day by law appointed for the election of judges, and until his successor shall have been elected and qualified.

Section 12. The judges of the several courts of this State shall hold their offices for the term of six years ; and the right of any judge to hold his office for the full term hereby prescribed, shall not be affected by any change hereafter made by law in any circuit or district, or in the mode or time of election ; but for any willful neglect of duty, or any other reasonable cause, which shall not be a sufficient ground of impeachment, the Governor shall remove any judge, on the address of two thirds of each house of the General Assembly. Provided, that the cause, or causes, for which said removal may be required, shall be stated at length in such address, and entered on the journals of each house. And provided further, that the judge intended to be removed shall be notified of such cause or causes, and shall be admitted to a hearing in his own defence, before any vote for such address ; and in all such cases, the vote shall be taken by yeas and nays, and be entered on the journals of each house respectively.

Section 13. No person who shall have arrived at the age of seventy years, shall be appointed or elected to, or shall continue in, the office of judge in this State.

Section 14. The judges of the supreme court shall, by virtue of their offices, be conservators of the peace throughout the State ; as also the judges of the circuit courts within their respective circuits, and the judges of the inferior courts within their respective counties.

Section 15. Clerks of the circuits courts, and of such inferior courts as may be by law established, shall be elected by the qualified electors in each county, for the term of four years ; and may be removed from office, for such causes, and in such manner as may be by law prescribed. Vacancies in the office of clerk shall be filled by the judge of the court, and the person so appointed shall hold office until the next general election, and until his successor is elected and qualified. Provided, that the General Assembly shall have power to annex the duties of clerk to the office of judge of any inferior court by law established.

Section 16. The style of all process shall be, The State of Alabama ; and all prosecutions shall be carried on in the name, and by the authority of the State of Alabama , and shall conclude, against the peace and dignity of the same.

 


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