Ernest C. Hornsby Information

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Ernest C. Hornsby also known as Sonny Hornsby (born October 8, 1936) was Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama from 1989 to 1995.


He was born on October 8, 1936, and he received his A.B. degree from Auburn University and his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1960. From 1960 to 1988, He had a private law practice in Tallassee, Alabama. He served as a State Senator for Tallapoosa County, Alabama and Elmore County, Alabama from 1962 to 1966. He served as President of the Elmore County Bar Association, President of the Alabama Trial Lawyers Association, and as Tallassee, Alabama City Judge from 1972 to 1978. From 1977 to 1978, he was President of the Alabama State Bar. He served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama from 1989 to 1995. [1]

He was defeated for re-election in 1994 by Perry O. Hooper Sr., who became Alabama's third Republican Chief Justice and the first GOP member to hold the post in 120 years when Thomas Minott Peters (1872–1874) left office during Reconstruction. Following his defeat, Hornsby tarnished his own reputation by refusing to leave office by trying to set a precedent of counting unwitnessed and unnotarized absentee ballots believing they would provide him with the necessary margin of victory. He led a nine-month legal battle to have the illegal ballots counted preventing Hooper from assuming office. His own Supreme Court of Alabama issued a decision in his favor (although Hornsby did recuse himself), but the district court of appeals ruled in favor of the plaintiffs on other grounds. The courts rejected his attempt to break precedent by counting the illegal ballots, and he finally gave up the office. [2]


  1. ^ "Ernest C. Hornsby". Alabama. Retrieved 2010-08-18. Sonny Hornsby grew up in Tallassee, Alabama. He graduated from Auburn University and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Alabama School of Law. Following his graduation from law school in 1960, Hornsby launched a 28-year career as a successful lawyer and businessman in the Tallassee area and served in all three branches of ...
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Legal offices
Preceded by
C. C. Torbert Jr.
Chief Justice of the
Supreme Court of Alabama

Succeeded by
Perry Hooper