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January 10, 2013
For More Information, contact:
Luther Strange
Joy Patterson (334) 242-7491
Claire Haynes (334) 242-7351
Alabama Attorney General
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(MONTGOMERY) – Attorney General Luther Strange said a decision today by the
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit is an important victory for Alabama.
“Today’s ruling in Lynch v. Alabama again confirms the State’s consistent position
that Alabama’s property tax structure does not violate the United States Constitution, and
equally as important, that the citizens of Alabama have a right to structure their own tax
system. The Office of Attorney General remains committed to defending and vindicating
this important right whenever necessary.”
The federal appeals court’s opinion upholds an October 2011 ruling by the U.S.
District Court for the Northern District of Alabama.
The 11th Circuit agreed with the State that the plaintiffs lacked standing to challenge
Alabama’s property tax millage caps because removing the caps would not result in relief
of the harm claimed by the plaintiffs. The Court stated that “removal of the millage caps
found in Sections 214, 215, and 216 of Article XI and Section 269 of Article XIV – the
remedy the plaintiffs seek – would not redress the asserted injury, which at bottom is the
inability of the plaintiffs and their elected officials to raise state and local revenue for
public education.” The Court noted particularly that “voters in Lawrence and Sumter
Counties, where the plaintiffs reside, have rejected various proposals to increase property
The Court also considered the issue of property classifications in Alabama’s tax
system, and ruled on the merits to find it constitutional. “To prevail on their constitutional
challenge to Amendment 373, the plaintiffs were required to prove not only
discriminatory impact, but also racially discriminatory intent or purpose,” the Court
stated. In the 11th Circuit’s view, there was no basis for rejecting the District Court’s well-
supported finding that racial motivation played no substantial or motivating factor in
enacting the State’s property classification system.
Attorney General Strange commended his Constitutional Defense Division,
Assistant Attorney General Will Parker, Solicitor General John Neiman, and former
Deputy Solicitor General Prim Escalona.

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