Inside the Statehouse
We Now Have a Very Youthful Federal Judiciary in Alabama
By Steve Flowers
Our senior senator, Richard Shelby, has left an indelible legacy and imprint on our state. Every corner of the state has been the recipient of his prowess at bringing home the bacon to the Heart of Dixie. Every university has enjoyed a largesse of federal dollars. He has made the Huntsville Redstone Arsenal one of the most renowned high technology regions in the nation, not to mention placing the FBI’s second home in Huntsville.
Shelby’s accomplishments for Alabama would take a book to enumerate. However, what is not universally known is that Shelby has transformed the federal judiciary in Alabama for years to come.
During the entire eight-year presidency of Barack Obama, by nature we had some attrition in our federal judiciary in all three regions, Northern, Middle and Southern Districts. Even though President Obama sought to appoint Democratic judges throughout the state, Shelby and Sen. Jeff Sessions thwarted all Democratic appointees and held these cherished and powerful judgeships vacant.
Shelby and Sessions were hopeful that one day there would be a Republican president coupled with a Republican senate majority and they would be able to appoint Republican jurists to the federal bench in Alabama. That happened when Trump became president. Sessions had parted with his senate seat to become attorney general, so that left Shelby to select and get confirmed a host of new, young federal judges in Alabama.
Shelby assigned his loyal and brilliant Staff Katie Boyd Britt , Katie Staff Katie Boyd Britt, the job of vetting potential federal judgeships. She and Shelby chose an outstanding cadre of young, well-educated, extremely qualified, moderately conservative men and women to sit on the federal bench in Alabama. This group is stellar and will be the majority of federal judges for the next 25 to 30 years. This coup of appointing young, conservative, extremely capable judges to the federal bench in Alabama may be one of Shelby’s greatest legacies.
Shelby had Andrew Brasher first appointed to the Middle District of Alabama. However, soon thereafter an opening occurred on the Eleventh Circuit and so Shelby had Trump appoint Brasher to the higher appeals court. Prior to Brasher’s appointment to the Middle District, he practiced law with Bradley Arant in Birmingham. He was solicitor general and a law clerk for Judge Bill Pryor. Brasher is a graduate of Samford University and Harvard Law School.
Shelby had Trump appoint Anna Manasco as a federal judge in the Northern District of Alabama. Manasco, like Brasher, practiced law in Birmingham with Arant prior to her federal appointment. She graduated with honors from Emory University, prior to earning her law degree from Yale Law School.
Shelby aligned with Trump to appoint Corey Maze for a seat on the federal bench in the Northern District. Maze was a prosecutor for the State of Alabama attorney general’s office. He is a summa cum laude graduate of Auburn University and a graduate of Georgetown Law.
Shelby had Trump appoint Liles Burke to a federal judgeship in the Northern District. Burke was an associate judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals prior to his federal appointment. He obtained his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Alabama.
Annemarie Axon is another Trump and Shelby anointed appointee for the Northern District of Alabama. Axon practiced law in Birmingham prior to her appointment. She, like all of the other Northern District appointees, is extremely well qualified. Axon also obtained her undergraduate and law degree from the University of Alabama.
Austin Huffaker, Jr. of Montgomery was chosen by Shelby and Trump for a federal judgeship in the Middle District. He practiced law in Montgomery prior to his appointment. He has an engineering degree from Vanderbilt and earned his law degree from the University of Alabama School of Law.
Also appointed by Shelby and Trump to the Middle District is Emily Marks of Montgomery. Marks practiced law in Montgomery prior to her appointment. She is a graduate of Spring Hill College in Mobile and the University of Alabama School of Law.
Jeffrey Beaverstock was appointed to a federal judgeship in the Southern District. He practiced law in Mobile and is a graduate of the Citadel and the University of Alabama School of Law.
Terry Moorer was appointed by Trump and confirmed by the senate for the Southern District. He was previously an assistant U.S. Attorney and is a graduate of Huntington College and the University of Alabama School of Law.
This host of federal jurists in Alabama will be one of Shelby’s lasting legacies.
See you next week.
Steve Flowers is Alabama’s leading political columnist. His weekly column appears in over 60 Alabama newspapers. He served 16 years in the state legislature. Steve may be reached at www.steveflowers.us.