Who Are the Nine People Who Sit on Our State Supreme Court?
By Steve Flowers
This week allow me to share with you a sketch of the men and women who sit on our State Supreme Court. These nine Justices are all Republican, all conservative on both social and business issues. All are very devout in their faith and very connected to their church and their family.
Chief Justice Tom Parker has been on the State Supreme Court since 2005. He was born and raised in Montgomery and went to Dartmouth College and Vanderbilt Law School.
Parker and his wife, the former Dottie James of Auburn, have been married 39 years. Dottie was a supervisor of the governor’s mansion during the Fob James administration. They are Methodist.
Justice Jay Mitchell is the most personable and definitely the tallest member of the Supreme Court. Mitchell was a star basketball player at Birmingham Southern where he graduated Phi Beta Kappa. He is imminently qualified for the Supreme Court having graduated from the University of Virginia Law School and had a sterling career with a Birmingham law firm prior to being overwhelmingly elected to the high tribunal in 2018. Mitchell and his wife, Elizabeth, have four children. They reside in Homewood and are members of the Church of the Highlands.
Justice Tommy Bryan is a popular and conservative member of the high court. Bryan was born on a family farm in Crenshaw County. He served on the Court of Civil Appeals and was an assistant attorney general prior to being elected to the Supreme Court in 2012. Bryan and his wife, Pamela, are very active members of the First Baptist Church of Montgomery where he is a Deacon, Sunday School teacher and sings in the choir. He and Pam are very close and have raised two fine children.
Justice William “Will” Sellers, like Parker, is a Montgomery native, as is his outstanding wife, Lee Grant Sellers. He and Lee have been married 33 years and have three adult children and are active members of Trinity Presbyterian Church of Montgomery. He was a prominent tax attorney prior to going on the court. He is a graduate of the University of Alabama Law School and has a New York University tax degree.
Justice Brad Mendheim was a Circuit Judge in Houston County prior to going on the Supreme Court. He was born and raised in Dothan and is one of the most respected young men to have come out of his hometown. He is a graduate of Auburn University and Cumberland School of Law. He and his wife of 24 years, Michelle, are very active members of the First Baptist Church of Dothan and they have three fine sons.
Justice Greg Shaw epitomizes a judge both professionally and personally. He is said to be the hardest working member of the Court and takes his role seriously and is well above reproach. He has an outstanding wife, Samantha “Sam” Shaw, who has also had a sterling career in politics. She was overwhelmingly elected State Auditor twice, serving eight years. Greg and Sam live on a farm about an hour from Montgomery. They have two outstanding sons and are members of the Auburn United Methodist Church. Greg graduated from Auburn and Samford’s Cumberland School of Law.
Justice Sarah Stewart is a longtime Mobilian and was a Mobile Circuit Judge prior to going on the Court. She is a very respected jurist and a graduate of Vanderbilt Law School. She and her husband, Craig, have two children and are Methodists.
Justice Mike Bolin is one of the finest men I have ever known. Bolin was a stellar and popular Probate Judge in Jefferson County prior to his service on the Supreme Court. He is a graduate of Samford University and a graduate of Cumberland School of Law. Bolin and his wife, Rosemary, have one daughter. They attend St. Peter the Apostle Church in Hoover. Unfortunately, he cannot run for reelection next year. He will be over 70 and is term limited under state law.
However, last but not least, Justice Kelli Wise is well below 70 and can and will run for reelection next year and she will win. She is a very popular member of the high court. Wise served several terms on the Court of Criminal Appeals before matriculating to the Supreme Court. Wise and her husband, former District Court Judge Arthur Ray, have one daughter and are members of the St. James United Methodist Church. Kelli is a Wiregrass native and is up for reelection next year.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in more than 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.