Chief justice candidate speaks at Indian Springs School

Published 4:48 pm Friday, November 2, 2012

By AMY JONES / Associate Editor

INDIAN SPRINGS — Alabama chief justice candidate Bob Vance returned to his alma mater, Indian Springs School, Nov. 2 not to campaign but to talk about the importance of public service in any life.

“As I have gone through life … the more I recognize how important it is to focus on those around you,” Vance said to a packed concert hall on the school’s campus. “I’ve always been a big believer that a great change comes from a number of little contributions.”

Vance spoke about his father, former federal judge Robert Smith Vance, who was killed by a mail bomb in 1989, and how his father inspired him to aspire to a life of service.

Like his father, Vance moved on from a lucrative law practice to become a judge.

Bob Vance.

“His death and his life compelled both (my wife) and I to reassess where we were and what we were doing,” Vance said. “I don’t make nearly as much money as a judge as I did as a lawyer, but that’s OK with me because the rewards I get from serving the public far outweigh monetary rewards.”

Vance is married to current U.S. Attorney Joyce White Vance, who represents the northern district of Alabama.

Vance said anyone can help others, no matter his or her talent or skills.

“The need to help others has never been greater,” he said. “The reality is, of course you can make a difference.”

Vance reminded his audience of Rosa Parks, and how her simple act of refusing to change seats on a bus changed the course of the civil rights movement.

“Rosa Parks did more for civil rights than any president,” he said. “That was a real turning point in the cause of civil rights.”

After his speech, Vance took questions from the students and faculty in attendance.

In response to a student question about negative campaigning, Vance said he’s worked hard to keep the chief justice race clean. Vance is running against one-time Chief Justice Roy Moore.

“I was very focused on making sure we did not get ugly,” said Vance, who added that he has released a commercial about Moore’s career.

Vance said he’s running for chief justice because the court system is facing severe budget cuts, and he’s ready to deal with that issue.

“We need a chief justice who’s going to be focused on dealing with this kind of problem,” Vance said. “The court is where a citizen goes to make sure his or her rights are protected.”

Vance graduated from Indian Springs in 1979.