Perry O. Hooper Sr.

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Perry O. Hooper Sr.
Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper, Sr. First Republican Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.jpg
27th Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
In office
October 20, 1995 – January 15, 2001
Preceded by Ernest C. Hornsby
Succeeded by Roy Moore
Circuit Judge, Fifteenth Judicial Circuit in Montgomery County, Alabama
In office
Probate Judge, Montgomery County, Alabama
In office
Personal details
Born Perry Oliver Hooper
(1925-04-08)April 8, 1925
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died April 24, 2016(2016-04-24) (aged 91)
Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.
Political party Republican
Spouse(s) Marilyn Yost Hooper
Children Perry O. Hooper Jr. and 3 others
Parents Ernest and Mary Lou Perry Hooper
Alma mater
Occupation Lawyer, judge
Military service
Service/branch United States Marine Corps

Perry Oliver Hooper Sr. (April 8, 1925 – April 24, 2016) was an American jurist who served as the twenty-seventh Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court from 1995 to 2001. He was the first Republican since Reconstruction to have been elected to his state's highest court.


After service in the United States Marine Corps during World War II, Hooper received his B.A. degree from Birmingham Southern College and his J.D. degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in Tuscaloosa. With receipt of his Juris Doctor degree, he entered private practice. In 1964, during the Barry Goldwater sweep of Alabama, Hooper was elected probate judge of Montgomery County, the first Republican to have been elected to that position since the 19th century. He continued as the probate judge, handling wills, successions, and estate transactions, until 1974, when was elected Judge of Alabama's 15th Judicial Circuit. In 1983, he returned to private practice.

1968 Senate election[edit]

In 1968, Hooper was the Republican nominee for the United States Senate for the open seat vacated by retiring Democrat Lister Hill. He won the party nomination in a state convention presided over by subsequent State Representative Bert Nettles, a lawyer then from Mobile. In the general election, Hooper received 201,277 votes (24 percent) to 638,774 (76 percent) for the Democratic nominee, former Lieutenant Governor James B. Allen, a conservative whose views were similar to those of Hooper. Still Hooper polled 54,304 more votes in his statewide race than did his party's presidential nominee, Richard M. Nixon. Hooper narrowly held his home county of Montgomery and fared best among upper-income whites, having received two thirds of the vote in higher socio-economic precincts in both Montgomery and Birmingham. Lower-income whites, conversely, supported Allen by a wide margin. In eleven of the state's sixty-seven counties, Hooper failed to reach double digits. Years later, Hooper recalled that many voters "didn't know" that he was in the race: "They only knew that George Wallace was carrying the banner [for President]... People didn't dislike Nixon, they just liked Wallace, who sounded... Republican," Hooper said.[1]

Supreme Court election[edit]

In 1994, Hooper was narrowly elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, with a winning margin of just 262 votes. He was not sworn in until October 20, 1995, almost nine months after his term had begun.[2][1]

It was widely believed that the political allies and trial lawyer friends of Ernest C. "Sonny" Hornsby, the sitting Democrat Chief Justice whom Hooper defeated, were the forces responsible for finding a plaintiff to sue in court to keep the seat for Hornsby.[3] Hornsby refused to leave office until the disposition of the court case. Hooper and James D. Martin, a perennial Republican figure running that year for state treasurer filed suit in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama in the case styled Larry ROE, Perry O. Hooper Sr., James D. Martin, and Willie J. Williams, Individually and on Behalf of a Class of Persons, Plaintiffs, v. MOBILE COUNTY APPOINTING, BOARD, et al., 904 F. Supp. 1325, (U.S.D.C.. S.D. Ala. 1995) on November 16, 1994.[4] The Verified Complaint sought relief pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983 to protect the right to vote and to preserve election records, as directed in 42 U.S.C. § 1974.[2] The named plaintiff is Larry Roe, seeking to secure protection for his right to vote, and the rights of other qualified voters. Hooper and Martin also joined the complaint. The defendants were a class of election officials in each county responsible for election management: the probate judge, sheriff, and circuit clerk. They are known as the appointing board for each county in the State. See Ala. Code § 17-6-1 (1975). The named defendants at that time were the Wilcox County Appointing Board, the Mobile County Appointing Board, and the probate judge in those two counties. Ri-l-2. Jurisdiction was conferred on the District Court pursuant to 28 U.S.C. § 1331 and § 1343, and relief was sought under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the All Writs Act.[5]

Once he took his oath of office, Hooper remained Chief Justice until his retirement in 2001, when fellow Republican Roy Moore, the "Ten Commandments judge," followed him in the position. After an absence from the court for nine years, Moore was again elected chief justice in the general election held on November 6, 2012.

Personal life[edit]

Perry Hooper Sr. lived in Montgomery with his wife. They have four children.[6] Hooper's son, Perry O. Hooper Jr., also of Montgomery, is a Republican former member of the Alabama House of Representatives. The junior Hooper was the unsuccessful Republican nominee for the Alabama Public Service Commission in the general election held on November 7, 2006. George Wallace Jr., formerly a Democrat, vacated the PSC position and ran unsuccessfully in the Republican primary for lieutenant governor.

Hooper died at home on April 24, 2016. He was 91.[7]


  1. ^ Hathorn, Billy (1994). "A Dozen Years in the Political Wilderness: The Alabama Republican Party, 1966–1978". Gulf Coast Historical Review. 9 (2): 30. 
  2. ^ Johnson, Winthrop (1999). Courting Votes in Alabama. Lafayette, Louisiana: Prescott Press, Inc. p. 250. ISBN 0-933451-41-5. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Winthrop (1999). Courting Votes in Alabama. Lafayette, Louisiana: Prescott Press, Inc. pp. 93–102. ISBN 0-933451-41-5. 
  4. ^ Johnson, Winthrop (1999). Courting Votes in Alabama. Lafayette, Louisiana: Prescott Press, Inc. pp. 111, 125, 128. ISBN 0-933451-41-5. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ Alabama Supreme Court Justices: Perry O. Hooper Sr.
  7. ^ Former Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Perry O. Hooper dies at 91 Archived 2016-05-08 at the Wayback Machine.
Legal offices
Preceded by
Ernest C. Hornsby
Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Alabama

Succeeded by
Roy Moore