Tom Parker (judge)

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Tom Parker
Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
Assumed office
January 11, 2019
Preceded byLyn Stuart
Associate Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court
In office
2005 – January 11, 2019
Succeeded byBrady E. Mendheim Jr.
Personal details
Born (1951-08-19) August 19, 1951 (age 67)
EducationDartmouth College (B.A.)
Vanderbilt University Law School (J.D.)

Tom Parker (born August 19, 1951)[1] is an American lawyer and judge. He is the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court winning election in November, 2018. He previously served as an Associate Justice on the court having been elected to that position in 2004 and re-elected in 2010.


Parker graduated from Dartmouth College and Vanderbilt University Law School.[2] He studied at the Law School, University of São Paulo in Brazil as a Rotary International fellow.[3]


In 1989, Parker became the founding executive director of the Alabama Family Alliance (later renamed the Alabama Policy Institute),[4] a conservative think tank.[2] At other points in his career, Parker was an Alabama assistant attorney general, deputy administrative director of Alabama courts; general counsel for Alabama trial courts; and director of the Alabama Judicial College.[5]

Parker was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court as an associate justice in 2004 and was re-elected in 2010.[2] He unsuccessfully ran for chief justice in 2006.[3] A longtime ally of Roy Moore,[5] he is known for his conservative views.[2] He strongly opposes Roe v. Wade (calling it a "constitutional aberration") and has written a number of anti-abortion judicial opinions.[5] Parker opposes same-sex marriage and has criticized the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Obergefell v. Hodges.[3]

In 2006, Parker wrote an op-ed, published in The Birmingham News, in which he criticizing his colleagues on the state supreme court for a ruling the previous year in which the court reversed a death sentence for a 17-year-old convicted of murder, following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision in Roper v. Simmons.[2] In the op-ed, Parker criticized the Roper decision as "blatant judicial tyranny" and asserted that "State supreme courts may decline to follow bad U.S. Supreme Court precedents because those decisions bind only the parties to the particular case."[6] The claim was criticized by legal experts (as well as Alabama Chief Justice Drayton Nabers, whom Parker was then running against) because it contravenes the accepted principle of American jurisprudence that the U.S. Supreme Court has ultimate authority on matters of federal law.[6] Retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor criticized Parker's op-ed in a Wall Street Journal commentary,[2] writing that it was an inappropriate attack on fellow judges and was at odds with the Constitution's Supremacy Clause.[7]

On June 5, 2018 Parker won the Republican nomination for Chief Justice over incumbent Chief Justice Lyn Stuart,[8] although seven current and former Alabama Supreme Court justices publicly supported Stuart over Parker in the primary.[2] Parker went on to defeat the Democratic nominee, Circuit Judge Bob Vance, in the general election on November 6, 2018.[2][9] The campaign was marked by negative television advertising in which Parker's campaign ran ads accusing Vance (who was supported by a moderate coalition) of being backed by "leftist billionaires" and in which Vance's campaign ran ads saying that Parker was "another Roy Moore" who would bring more "chaos and controversy" to Alabama.[2]

He was sworn in as Chief Justice of Alabama on January 11, 2019.[10]

Personal life[edit]

Parker lives in Montgomery County and is married.[3]


  1. ^ "Tom Parker". NNDB. Retrieved February 21, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Melissa Brown, Alabama Chief Justice candidate Tom Parker: 'I know what we need', Montgomery Advertiser (October 15, 2018).
  3. ^ a b c d Kent Faulk, Alabama Supreme Court Justice Tom Parker seeks third term, (February 25, 2016).
  4. ^ "Associate Justice Tom Parker". Supreme Court of Alabama. Retrieved 3 March 2015.
  5. ^ a b c Ivana Hrynkiw, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice race: Meet Bob Vance, Tom Parker, (October 25, 2018).
  6. ^ a b Alabama revists issue of federal vs. state power, Associated Press (May 31, 2006).
  7. ^ Sandra Day O'Connor, The Threat to Judicial Independence, Wall Street Journal (September 27, 2006).
  8. ^ Alabama Secretary of State, election results, June 5, 2018
  9. ^ Alabama Secretary of State, election results, November 6, 2018
  10. ^ Hrynkiw, Ivana (2019-01-11). "Alabama Supreme Court justices to be sworn in". Retrieved 2019-01-14.