Riley appoints Main to appeals court
Gov. Bob Riley appointed state Finance Director Jim Main to a vacant seat on the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals effective May 15, the last day of the current legislative session.
Many people have been expecting the appointment for weeks. Main has served as finance director for Riley since June 2004.
As the chief financial officer for the state, Main has assisted Riley and other staffers in crafting the budgets to spend billions in state funds.
Main, 64, said Friday that he will run for the court seat as a Republican in 2010. He has considered previous runs for the Alabama Supreme Court and said he has not ruled out a run for the highest appellate court in the state.
The seat has been vacant since January. Main said he and the governor talked about the seat then, but Riley asked him to stay and help with the budgets during the current legislative session.
Main will take the set vacated when Republican Greg Shaw was elected to the Alabama Supreme Court.
Main said he was hopeful his time on the appeals court would alleviate concerns about his "business connections of the last 10 years and my trial work before that."
Some in the business community, who often fund Republican judicial candidates, have expressed concerns about Main serving as a shareholder at Beasley, Wilson, Allen, Main and Crow, P.C., a prominent civil and consumer litigation firm.
Before joining the Beasley firm, he was a shareholder at the firm of Haskell, Slaughter and Young, P.C.
Main, who served as senior counsel to Riley, was appointed to his current position in 2004 to replace Drayton Nabers, who Riley appointed to a vacancy to become chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.
"Jim Main's commitment to public service, his work ethic, his legal background, his character, the unique perspective he’s gained from a diverse background, all these things make him absolutely the best choice for this judgeship," Riley said in a statement.
Main and Riley are longtime friends. Main ran for the state Senate in 1978 and Riley helped with the campaign. He said they have been friends for more than 40 years and Patsy Riley was a bridesmaid in Main's wedding.
The finance director said even though he was appointed by his friend that he is qualified for the job.
"I think most lawyers who have dealt with me would agree with that," Main said.
He said he has some experience in criminal law from early in his career. Main said he has performed appellate work and tried cases before the Alabama Supreme Court and the U.S. Supreme Court.
Main said he was proud of his work in SMART Governing, which he said brought more planning and transparency to government. He said the process focused more on programs and did not just direct a lump sum to an agency. Agencies, he said, submitted strategic plans and had to share goals, objectives and measurements.
The finance director said he had hoped the Legislature would have more readily embraced the concept.
Main also served as chief of staff and legal advisor to Gov. Fob James from 1997 to 1999.
-- posted by Sebastian Kitchen