Spanish Fort, Ala. — Alabama’s governor appointed William Sellers ’85 to the Alabama Supreme Court on May 25 to fill the vacancy left by now-Chief Justice Lyn Stuart.
Sellers is a longtime aide of Republican Gov. Kay Ivey, having served as the chair of her 2010 and 2014 campaigns for lieutenant governor. With Sellers’ appointment, all nine of the court’s members are Republican.
Sellers said he sees his position as a role to ensure the legal system treats people responsibly and fairly.
“I realized there was a lot of good you can do to help the legal system as a judge,” he said. “I was thinking about that for the last several years.”
Prior to his appointment, Sellers served as a partner in the Montgomery, Alabama office of Balch & Bingham LLP. He received his juris doctorate from the University of Alabama School of Law and his doctorate of laws in taxation from the New York University School of Law.
“My area in law was tax law, because I always felt like people needed representation against the IRS and needed help navigating very complicated rules and regulations,” he said.
Sellers is one of only a few U.S. lawyers who has won in litigation against the Internal Revenue Service and the Resolution Trust Corporation, according to his member profile on the Republican National Lawyers Association website.
Sellers graduated from Hillsdale magna cum laude with majors in history and political economics and a minor in English. He served as president of the Phi Alpha Theta history honorary, was involved in the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on campus, and wrote several political editorials for The Collegian.
Professor of History Emeritus John Willson said Sellers was a “terrific student” and that he is not surprised to hear of Sellers’ appointment.
“He is a very capable guy,” he said. “He is the type of person who would be interested in serving in a public capacity. I know he was always intending to do things in law larger than simply a law practice.”
Although Sellers was willing to attend Hillsdale College because of his conservative values, Willson said Sellers always intended to return to his home state.
“He was a true southern gentleman,” Willson said. “He came from an old Montgomery family, and they were southerners in the truest, best sense of the word…Believe me, there was never any chance he was going to become a yankee.”
Sellers has been active in Republican politics over the years, in addition to his involvement in several community organizations and professional associations. His current involvements include the Alabama Republican Lawyers Association, the Alabama World Affairs Council, and the Alabama State Committee for the Arts. He also serves as a trustee for Huntingdon College, a Methodist liberal arts college in Alabama.
“I am humbled to be appointed an associate justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, and I thank Governor Ivey for her confidence in me,” Sellers said in a statement. “I will respect the rule of law and apply the law equally without bias or respect to person or station in life.”
Sellers will complete Stuart’s term, which ends in January 2019.