The county’s judicial branch is a largely unseen part of its success.

Many people in St. Clair County likely know the names – Hill, Seay, Furr, Minor – though they are unlikely to ever encounter any of our county’s judges in any meaningful way (at least they hope so). Even though they appear on our ballots during election time, the judges in the county are usually an afterthought, so long as none is under investigation.

This is really too bad, because the judges in St. Clair County are quality people, and some of the best parts of the county. Programs like Drug Court and the St. Clair County Day Program exist because our judges had the vision to make them a reality, and the wherewithal to make sure they remained that way.

So it is that we in St. Clair County wish a happy retirement to St. Clair County Circuit Judge Jim Hill, as well as a tall order to his replacement, Bill Weathington. Hill, who has served as a judge in the county for almost 19 years, officially steps down at the end of the month, while Weathington will begin his stint on the bench Nov. 12, following the Veterans Day holiday.

For Weathington, the task is simple: Keep up the good work. Continue to provide the type of proactive and cooperative leadership that has benefited the county in the past decade or so. Taking over the county’s increasing circuit case load is no small task, but county leaders believed Weathington could handle the job (which is why they recommended him to Gov. Robert Bentley).

"I think (Weathington) will be an awesome judge," said Commission Chairman Stan Batemon, who worked with Weathington during his stint as county attorney. "I think he will be a fair judge, and I think this is going to be a perfect fit for him. St. Clair County really hates to lose him as our county attorney, but we look forward to working with him now as our judge."

We echo that sentiment, and wish the best for St. Clair County.