The following statement is by Frank McPhillips, Chair of the Alabama Appleseed Board of Directors, on the passing of Clement Clay “Bo” Torbert Jr.:
Chief Justice Bo Torbert was beloved by everyone with whom he came in contact, known for his graciousness, his generosity, and his great humor. Chief Justice Torbert was a founding member and first Chair of Alabama Appleseed, one of many organizations that benefited from his commitment to making Alabama a better and more just state.
Chief Justice Torbert was a giant figure in Alabama politics before being elected Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 1976. I first got to know Chief Justice Torbert when he joined my law firm after his retirement from the Supreme Court in 1989. He was a mentor to numerous young lawyers not only because of his understanding of the law but also because he embodied the values of collegiality and respect for the opinions and ideas of others. As a testament to his stature in the Alabama legal community, the Heflin-Torbert Judicial Building (location of the Alabama Supreme Court) was named in his honor jointly with Hon. Howell Heflin.
Alabama Appleseed’s annual Brewer-Torbert Public Service Award is named for Chief Justice Torbert, along with Governor Albert Brewer, another founding member of Alabama Appleseed. We have an abiding responsibility to live up to the proud reputation that Chief Justice Torbert bestowed on us. We mourn the loss of Chief Justice Bo Torbert.