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Dear Editor:
I take respectful note of the passing of Former Supreme CourtChief Justice Perry Hooper, Sr. I worked for many appellate court candidates during my years in Montgomery. But it was Perry who gave the Alabama GOP its first foot in the door of the appellate courts. It wasn’t easy. He had to endure an almost year-long battle with the Democrat challenger before a decision in his favor was rendered. Voting irregularities were exposed, leading to election reform. Tip of the hat to Bert Jordan and other associates at Wallace, Jordan Law Firm, as well as to any other attorneys involved. Win Johnson’s marvelous book “Courting Votes in Alabama” is a wonderful history of that struggle.
Now, of course, the GOP holds all the appellate seats, providing the business community a level playing field with the plaintiffs' attorneys. Perry’s victory marked the start of our state's overcoming the “tort hell” label. I have to share my favorite Perry story, on the day that the decision in his favor was announced, the press found him at home potting some flowers (petunias, I think). Those flowers ended up gaining national attention! That night, his wife Marilyn, told him to take out the garbage. Perry said, “Now what’s wrong with this picture? I have just received national recognition as Alabama’s first Chief Justice since Reconstruction, and you ask me to take out the garbage?” Marilyn’s priceless reply was, “Oh, you can wear your robe if you want to.” I extend my condolences to Marilyn and all the members of his fine family. Perry -- we owe you.

Robert Avant
Fayette
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