Sue Bell Cobb

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Sue Bell Cobb
Sue Bell Cobb USDOJ panel.jpg
Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
In office
Preceded by Drayton Nabers
Succeeded by Chuck Malone
Personal details
Born 1956 (age 60–61)
Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.
Political party Democratic
Alma mater University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa

Sue Bell Cobb (born 1956 in Louisville, Kentucky) is an American jurist and former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, the first woman to hold that office in Alabama's history.

Life and early career[edit]

Cobb graduated from Sparta Academy and the University of Alabama with a degree in history. She received the Phi Alpha Theta Scholarship Key. Cobb attended the University of Alabama School of Law, graduating with a J.D. in 1981. In law school Cobb was a member of the Bench and Bar Honor Society, Farrah Law Society, and Moot Court Board. Cobb was appointed as a judge of Conecuh County District Court immediately after being admitted to the bar. Formerly one of the state's youngest judges, she was elected to the district court in 1982 and re-elected in 1988.[1]

As a trial judge, Cobb took assignments from about 40 counties. In 1997, Cobb was appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court to serve as the Alternate Chief Judge of the Court of the Judiciary. She is married to William J. Cobb, Executive Director of Governmental Affairs of Bell South. They have three children and four grandchildren.[2]

Chief Justice[edit]

Cobb served as Alabama's Chief Justice from 2007 until her resignation in August 2011. She was the first woman elected to this post and had previously served from 1995 to 2007 as a judge on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals, the state court for criminal intermediate appeals. Before 1995, she had served as a trial judge in state district court for many years.[1]

Cobb, a Democrat, was the only member of her party to serve on the Alabama Supreme Court at that time. Elected in 2006, she unseated Judge Drayton Nabers, Jr., a Republican who in 2003 had succeeded Justice Roy Moore after Moore had been removed from the bench regarding his role in the display of the Ten Commandments in the courthouse.[3] The race achieved notoriety for its cost;[4] including the primary, the candidates raised over $8.3 million.[5]

Cobb announced her intention to resign from office to devote more time to her family, and said she had also been wary of "the cost of running for office while maintaining judicial objectivity".[5] She denied that her decision to step down was connected with a potential bid for Governor of Alabama in the 2014 election,[6] She considered it, but ultimately decided against running.[7] After stepping down, she became "a national advocate for changing how judges are selected", saying on her race against Nabers (said to be the second most expensive judicial race in American history), "Everything we did was legal and ethical, but that didn't mean it was right".[8] In 2015, in an op-ed piece for Politico, she said she was ashamed of the amount of money she had to raise to win the election.[8][9]


  1. ^ a b "Supreme Court of Alabama - Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb". Archived from the original on November 5, 2013. Retrieved September 12, 2014. 
  2. ^ "Board of Directors and Staff". Alabama Children First. Retrieved June 27, 2015. 
  3. ^ Johnson, Bob (November 16, 2005). "Appellate Judge Sue Bell Cobb running for state chief justice". The Decatur Daily. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  4. ^ Marcus, Ruth (May 30, 2007). "The Attack Ads Will Come to Order". The Washington Post. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Velasco, Eric (November 4, 2011). "Sue Bell Cobb, former Alabama chief justice, to address Downtown Democratic Club today". The Birmingham News. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Sue Bell Cobb: No decision on Alabama governor's race". Associated Press. June 30, 2011. Retrieved June 30, 2011. 
  7. ^ "Cobb: "I'm not a candidate for governor"". The Montgomery Independent. December 26, 2013. Retrieved October 27, 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Sue Bell Cobb: Money now king of Alabama judicial races". The Birmingham News. May 16, 2015. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 
  9. ^ Cobb, Sue Bell (March–April 2015). "I Was Alabama's Top Judge. I'm Ashamed by What I Had to Do to Get There". Politico. Retrieved June 24, 2015. 

External links[edit]

Legal offices
Preceded by
Drayton Nabers
Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
Succeeded by
Chuck Malone