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Lawsuit challenges Alabama’s method of electing judges

MONTGOMERY, Ala. (AP) — A federal judge has finished hearing evidence in a trial challenging Alabama’s practice of electing appellate judges by statewide vote.

Chief District Judge Keith Watkins said Monday that he will issue instructions in the next week for final briefs and oral arguments.

The 2016 lawsuit contends the practice of at-large judicial elections dilutes the voting power of African-American citizens and results in all-white courts in a state where one in four people are African American.

There have been only two African-American candidates elected to the state’s Supreme Court. The court has been all-white for 17 years.

The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Alabama NAACP and four black voters.

The final witness in the case was a political scientist who testified about racially polarized voting patterns in Alabama.

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