Alabama Child Custody Ruling

It will take us a while to untangle this. The Alabama Supreme Court issued a ruling today that breaks new ground, not so much for the decision made by the court but for the complexity and confusion of the opinions. Dissenting Justice Tom Parker said that in his search of the available cases, he was unable to find another case like this, in which the Justices issued seven separate opinions. Now, lawyers, go forth and advise your clients.

The opinions are not yet available in the Lexis database I use, so this blog post is based only on the AP report. The facts are unremarkable, involving a child of unmarried parents born in 1999. When the mother overdosed on heroin, the father shared custody with the maternal grandparents.

When the father sought full custody, the trial court ruled that the father was unfit and awarded custody to the maternal grandparents. A majority of the justices sustained the lower court’s ruling. But in doing so, they wrote seven separate opinions totaling 100 pages, many of them liberally quoting scripture in opposition to each other.

Watch here for a more leisurely exploration once the case makes it into the Lexis database, perhaps Monday or so. I’m not sure it’s scripture (exactly), but it seems in keeping with the spirit of our Supreme Court: Lord have mercy. Christ have mercy. Lord have mercy.

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