George Washington Stone



Exponent and interpreter of the common law. His pioneering
decisions as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama
are acclaimed landmarks of judicial progress.

George Washington Stone lived in a period when expediency and gain were the method and goal of many powerful men. Throughout his life, however, and particularly as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, he stood firm on foundations of principle and truth.

Returning to the state bench after Reconstruction, Stone found the law in great disrepute and respect for the law all but nonexistent. Into this situation he projected his personal strength of character and violent distaste for anything that suggested fraud and corruption. Largely under his leadership the state legal system purged itself of the debasing influences of the war and its aftermath and assumed its rightful place within the constitutional framework. Stone's firm belief in principle brought an abrupt end to his first period of service on the high court. He ruled in favor of the Confederacy in an 1864 conscription case and indignant state senators neglected to reelect him the following year. He returned in 1876 and served until his death, delivering more than 2,000 decisions during his quarter century on the Alabama Supreme Court. Precise, clear and courageous in decision, Stone was widely regarded by bench and bar as one of the leading common law jurists of his period. He was a progressive, forward-looking judge, and delivered opinions that are still quoted in the Alabama Supreme Court.

Distinguished judge, devoted churchman and loving husband, George Stone lifted himself by his bootstraps to a permanent place of honor in the history of Alabama.

Elected 1954.

Alabama Hall of Fame, 1968

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Created: 1/18/96