Confederate monuments are easier to remove than Alabama’s racist laws. Our mammoth state Constitution of 1901 is not just littered with racism, it was written to ensure it: “White Supremacy by Law.” On November 8, Alabama voters will have the opportunity to vote for the ratification of the proposed Alabama Constitution of 2022, a rare piece of legislation that has unanimous bipartisan support among state lawmakers.
In its endorsement, Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform (ACCR) writes: “Two items related to the Alabama Constitution will be on the ballot in November, having already received unanimous support from members of the state legislature and Governor Kay Ivey. ACCR also fully endorses ratification of the Constitution of 2022 and companion Amendment 10 which, together, complete the process of updating the state’s 1901 Constitution.
“This November 8th, I look forward to voting yes on the ratification of the proposed Constitution of Alabama of 2022,” Governor Ivey told ACCR. “Two years ago, the people of Alabama voted to streamline our Constitution –without making any substantial changes–and since then we have been fortunate to have some of the best legal minds working on this project which the Legislature unanimously approved last Session. I know a lot of work went into the process and I am appreciative of all involved.”
The bipartisan Constitution of 2022 scrubs racist language and repealed laws in its recompilation of the bloated, oppressive Constitution of 1901. The new version of the constitution was allowed because of state legislation passed in the 2022 session, which lawmakers passed without dissent.
R E L A T E D: Inside the Alabama Constitution of 2022: Voters to see changes on November ballot – al.com
R E L A T E D: Alabama Constitution of 2022 removes repealed laws, racist language – al.com
R E L A T E D: Guest opinion: An Opportunity to clean up the Alabama Constitution – al.com
Excerpts from Sarah Swetlik’s AL.com story:
“When we say, ‘No longer are we that 1901 Alabama – that again, we know this from the transcripts – is rooted in white supremacy, deliberately disenfranchised Black voters, that we can say we now have a new document that spells out who we are today: That gives me hope in the future for the state of Alabama,” said Rep. Merika Coleman (D-Birmingham), who sponsored the legislation to recompile the constitution.
“Coleman said she wanted people to know two things: The new constitution was a bipartisan effort amongst state legislators and the recompiled document is separate from amendments, which will follow it on the ballot.
“This is a ratification of the work of the legislature, so it’s not an amendment,” Coleman said.
“Coleman spoke at a discussion of the proposed constitution held with the Public Affairs Research Council of Alabama at Samford University. She was joined by Othni Lathram, the director of the Alabama Legislative Services Agency and code commissioner for the constitution, as well as Rep. Danny Garrett (R-Trussville) and Catherine Randall of Alabama Citizens for Constitutional Reform.”
“Lathram noted that the 10th amendment on the ballot will coincide with the recompilation. Lathram said it allows the Code Commissioner – the role in which he currently serves, to place constitutional amendments ratified before or on the same day of the constitution in logical order. The amendment also allows for the transfer of annotations from the 1901 document to the 2022 document.
“Lathram said the latter is important so that the new constitution doesn’t erase 120 years of litigation, using issues like budgets and tax collection as examples.
“We don’t want to have some argument that the day after we ratify this, that you’re imposing a 2020 Webster’s dictionary definition rather than a 1901 definition and changing all of that law and upsetting that status quo,” Lathram said.
“Lathram also said the group was intent on keeping changes narrow – in efforts to stay in line with the charge of only changing what was necessary, some proposed grammatical changes were cut.
“The amendment will only pass if the recompilation passes.
Lathram said the “recompilation had about a dozen spots where the code commissioner at the time fixed some grammar issues, fixed some misspelled words, added some punctuation…we took all of that back out,” he said. “It’s a little bit embarrassing. I hate that we had to, but that’s how seriously we took the charge from the legislature and the voters about not making any other changes.”
Read all of Swetlik’s story here
The proposed updates can be found on the website of the Secretary of State at www.sos.state.al.us and LSA at www.legislature.state.al.us/lsa
Wayne Flynt, Professor Emeritus, History, Auburn University says “The unanimous support of our state lawmakers, on both sides of the aisle has been a key factor in paving the way for our state’s much-needed constitutional updates. These steps will bring clarity to the document, making it easier for all of us to understand. Our state’s economic development leaders also believe the revisions will help the state attract more business opportunities.”
On November 8, Alabamians have the opportunity to vote on 10 statewide amendments, along with a ratification of the re-worked document. Let’s give our old racist constitution a makeover.
Vote “Yes” to ratify the Constitution of 2022.
More related content by JD Crowe:
Alabama’s white supremacy playbook – al.com
Alabama’s real state motto: ‘We Dare Defend Our Whites’ – al.com
Ready to erase racist language from our state constitution? It starts with Amendment 4 – al.com
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Robert Plant head-butted me. Thanks, David Coverdale – al.com
I was ZZ Top’s drummer for a night and got kidnapped by groupies – al.com
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Herschel Walker’s fake badge qualifies him for one job – al.com
Nick Saban laundry day needed after penalty-ridden Tennessee loss – al.com
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Tommy Tuberville gives bull excrement a bad name – al.com
Biden’s pot pardons: High time to end Alabama’s war on marijuana – al.com
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JD Crowe is the cartoonist for Alabama Media Group and AL.com. He won the RFK Human Rights Award for Editorial Cartoons in 2020. In 2018, he was awarded the Rex Babin Memorial Award for local and state cartoons by the Association of American Editorial Cartoonists. Follow JD on Facebook, Twitter @Crowejam and Instagram @JDCrowepix.
JD Crowe RFK Award work