CONSTITUTION OF 1868




ARTICLE VI.

JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT.

Section 1. The judicial power of the State shall be vested in the Senate sitting as a court of Impeachment, a Supreme Court, Circuit Courts, Chancery Courts, Courts of Probate, such inferior Courts of Law and Equity to consist of not more than five members, as the General Assembly may from time to time establish, and such persons as may be by law invested with powers of a judicial nature.

Section 2. Except in cases otherwise directed in the 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, habeas corpus, quo-warranto, and such other remedial and original writs as may be necessary to give it a general superintendence and control of inferior jurisdiction.

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, it may adjourn to a different place.

Section 4. The State shall be divided by the General Assembly into convenient circuits, each of which shall contain not less than three nor more than eight counties; and for each circuit there shall be chosen a Judge, who shall after his election or appointment, reside in the circuit for which he shall have been chosen.

Section 5. The Circuit Court shall have original jurisdiction in all matters, civil and criminal, within the State, not otherwise excepted in the Constitution, but in civil cases only when the matter or sum in controversy exceeds fifty dollars: Provided, however, That the Circuit Court shall have equity jurisdiction concurrent with the Courts of Chancery in all cases for divorce, and cases in which the value of the matter in controversy does not exceed the sum of five thousand 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: Provided, That the judges of the several Circuit Courts shall have power to issue writs of injunction returnable into Courts of Chancery.

Section 7. The General Assembly shall have power to establish a Court or Courts of Chancery with original and appellate jurisdiction. The State shall be divided by the General Assembly into convenient Chancery Divisions, and the Divisions into Districts; and for each Division there shall be a Chancellor, who shall, after his election or appointment, reside in the Division for which he shall have been elected or appointed.

Section 8. A Chancery Court shall be held in each county at a place therein to be fixed by law, and the Chancellors may hold courts for each other, when they deem it expedient.

Section 9. The General Assembly shall have power to establish in each county within the State a Court of Probate, with general jurisdiction for the granting of letters testamentary and of administration, and for orphans' business; and the General Assembly may confer on the said courts, jurisdiction of contracts for labor, and order frequent sessions for that purpose.

Section 10. The Judges of the Supreme Courts, Circuit Courts, and Courts of Chancery, shall, at stated times, receive for their services a compensation which shall not be diminished during their continuance in office; but they shall receive no fees or perquisites, nor hold any office (except judicial offices) of profit or trust under this State, or the United States during the term for which they have been elected, nor under any other power during their continuance in office.

Section 11. Judges of the Supreme Court, and Chancellors, 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, towns or districts, for which said courts may be established, on the Tuesday after the first Monday in November of each year, or such other day as may be by law prescribed. Vacancies in the office of the Circuit Judge, Judge of Probate, 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 appointed by law for election of Judge, and until his successor shall have been elected and qualified.

Section 12. The Judges of the several Courts of this State shall hold their office 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 wilful 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 defense, 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 journal of each house respectively.

Section 13. A competent number of Justices and Constables shall be elected in and for each county by the qualified electors thereof; who shall hold office during such terms as may be prescribed by law. Said Justices shall have jurisdiction in all civil cases wherein the amount in controversy does not exceed one hundred dollars. In all cases tried before such Justices the right of appeal shall be secured by law: Provided, That Notaries Public appointed according to law shall be authorized and required to exercise, throughout their respective counties all the powers and jurisdiction of Justices of the Peace.

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. The Clerk of the Supreme Court shall be appointed by the Judges thereof; Registers in Chancery, by the Chancellors of the Divisions; and all the Clerks and Registers so appointed shall be removed by the appointing power for cause to be placed on the records of the court.

Section 16. The Attorney General shall reside at the seat of government, and shall be the law officer of the State. During the session of the General Assembly, he shall furnish to the committees of either house, when required, drafts of bills and written opinions upon any matter under consideration of the committees, and shall perform such other duties as may be required of him by law.

Section 17. A Solicitor shall be elected in each county in this State by the qualified electors of such county, who shall reside in the county for which he is elected, and perform such duties as may be required of him by law. He shall hold office for a term of four years, and in case of vacancy, such vacancy shall be filled by the Judge of the Circuit until his successor is elected and qualified.

Section 18. Clerks of the Circuit Court, and such inferior courts as may be by law established, shall be elected by the qualified electors in each county, for the term of six years, and may be removed from office for cause, 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, until the next general election, and until a successor shall be elected and qualified: Provided, That the General Assembly shall have power to annex the duties of Clerk to the office of Judge of any of the inferior courts by law established.

Section 19. The style of all processes 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."


HOME | HISTORY | CONSTITUTIONS | 1868