Advisory Opinion No. 391

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REL:10/1/2015 Notice: This opinion is subject to formal revision before publication in the advance sheets of Southern Reporter. Readers are requested to notify the Reporter of Decisions, Alabama Appellate Courts, 300 Dexter Avenue, Montgomery, Alabama 36104-3741 ((334) 2290649), of any typographical or other errors, in order that corrections may be made before the opinion is printed in Southern Reporter. SUPREME COURT OF ALABAMA SPECIAL TERM, 2015 ____________________ OPINION OF THE JUSTICES ____________________ No. 391 Opinion Issued October 1, 2015 The Honorable Robert Bentley Governor of Alabama Alabama State Capitol Montgomery, Alabama 36130 Dear Governor Bentley: We have received your letter of September 9, 2015, in which you request an advisory opinion on the following constitutional question: "Would an amendment of Article IV, § 65 of the Alabama Constitution to grant the Legislature power to authorize only a state operated lottery, result in removal of the existing general ban on gambling Opinion of the Justices No. 391 or gaming activities in the State and thus, result in legalizing Class III or other casino style gaming in the state, with or without further legislative act?" Section 12-2-10, Ala. Code 1975, provides that "[t]he Governor, by a request in writing, or either house of the Legislature, by a resolution of such house, may obtain a written opinion of the justices of the Supreme Court of Alabama or a majority thereof on important constitutional questions." We are reluctant to offer an advisory opinion about a hypothetical constitutional amendment that has not been embodied in the text of a specific bill. "Under § 12-2-10, Code of Alabama 1975, the Supreme Court is authorized to issue advisory opinions on important constitutional questions. However, this court has heretofore restricted these opinions to questions on the constitutionality of proposed legislation arising under specific provisions of the Constitution. We view 'proposed legislation' as a bill introduced and pending in the Legislature." Opinion of the Justices No. 242, 356 So. 2d 172, 173 (Ala. 1978) (citations omitted; final emphasis added). The amendment to Article IV, § 65, Ala. Const. 1901, referenced in the question you have presented for the Justices' opinion, is purely hypothetical. No bill is attached to the request. When 2 Opinion of the Justices No. 391 constitutional questions raised in a request for an advisory opinion "do not appear to pertain to a bill which has been introduced in the [legislature]," the Justices have respectfully declined to answer the questions. Opinion of the Justices No. 242, 356 So. 2d at 173. Accord Opinion of the Justices No. 375, 823 So. 2d 1274, 1275 (Ala. 2002); Opinion of the Justices No. 369, 730 So. 2d 129, 131 (Ala. 1999). The specific question presented, legislation, asks apart us to from not speculate addressing as to the collateral effect a potential constitutional amendment to allow only a state-operated lottery might have on the gaming laws in this State. However, the question presented does not specify the gaming laws in question. They are identified only as laws that impose "the existing general ban on gambling or gaming activities in the State." We do not consider it prudent to hypothesize as to what statutes, state or federal, may be contemplated in this request. See Opinion of the Justices No. 382, 907 So. 2d 1022, 1025 (Ala. 2005) (declining to provide "a speculative opinion" on how a proposed constitutional amendment would be interpreted by the courts). Because § 12-210 "does not authorize the 3 expression of opinions on Opinion of the Justices No. 391 hypothetical questions," Opinion of the Justices No. 162, 267 Ala. 110, 113, 100 So. 2d 565, 567 (1958), we respectfully decline your request for an advisory opinion. Respectfully submitted, /s/ Roy S. Moore Roy S. Moore Chief Justice /s/ Michael F. Bolin Michael F. Bolin Associate Justice 4