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Alabama Appellate Courts
Voter Guide 2008

A nonpartisan guide to information about the Alabama Courts of Appeal
and the candidates running in those elections in 2008

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Bill Thompson
Judge, Court of Civil Appeals
General Election
November 4, 2008

Biographical Information
Place of Residence: Homewood, AL
Family: Melinda Rainey Thompson (wife) 2 sons (14 & 12) and a daughter (9)
Education: BA University of Alabama 1984
JD Cumberland School of Law 1988
Occupation: Presiding Judge of the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
Employer: State of Alabama
Bar Admission(s) &
Date(s) of Admission:
Admitted to the Alabama State Bar in 1988.
Legal & Judicial
Appellate court judge since 1997, private practice, in-house corporate attorney, and former Assistant Legal Advisor to the Governor of Alabama.
Other Experience: Serve on the Juvenile Code Revision Committee, the Alabama Court Improvement Project, and the Chief Justice’s Committee on Professionalism.
Honors & Awards: Appointed unanimously by the Alabama Supreme Court to serve as Chief Judge of the Court of the Judiciary
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Campaign Contact Information
Address 1: P.O. Box 6207
Address 2:
City: Montgomery
State: AL
Zip Code: 36106
Voice Phone Number: 1-334-467-2525
Fax Phone Number:
Website: billthompson2008.com
Email Address:
(or Contact Webform Address)
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Questions & Answers:
1.  How have your training, professional experience, and interests prepared you to serve on the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals?

I have been on the court for 11 and have authored and participated in thousands of appeals.  I currently serve as the presiding judge and have led the court through one of the most productive periods in its history.  I enjoy reading and researching the law, which is a large part of what the job entails.   The reversal rate on the opinions I have authored is extremely low, and I believe that I have earned a reputation during my tenure for being a fair, honest, and competent jurist.

2.  What do you consider to be the three most important attributes of a judge?

Above all a judge must be fair, impartial, and knowledgeable in the law.

3.  What is your judicial philosophy?

I believe that judges are there to decide the matters before them.  It is not the role of the judiciary to establish public policy by exercising legislative authority.  Judges must be constrained in their approach to the law.

4.  How do you define “judicial independence,” and how important is it to our judicial system?

Judicial independence is when a judge decides a case by applying the law to the facts without being subject to outside influences.  Judicial independence is vitally important to our judiciary from the standpoint of maintaining the public’s trust.

5.  What is the greatest area of need in the Alabama civil justice system, and how should the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals respond, if at all?

I believe that access to the courts should be a priority.  Although primarily a legislative function, assistance to poor litigants in matters involving constitutionally protected rights should be improved.  We have made great strides recently in this area in Alabama, but there is still room for improvement.  Our court has recently increased the fees that can be received by lawyers appointed to represent indigent clients.

6.  What part, if any, should public opinion play in the decision of a judge?

 Public opinion has a tendency to change over time.  A judge has a duty to avoid being influenced by it.  A judge should rule according to the law as applied to the facts.

7.  In a case before the court, how should a judge handle a conflict between his/her personal beliefs and the law?

A judge cannot let his personal opinions and beliefs override the applicable law.

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The League of Women Voters of Alabama Education Fund does not endorse any political candidate or party. The information presented here is intended solely for the education of Alabama voters. Responses are printed verbatim as submitted by the candidates up to the 250-word limit.

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