By Marlee Moore
A deep conviction to uphold the law of the land earned Alabama Supreme Court Associate Justice Michael F. Bolin the Alabama Farmers Federation Cultivator Award, presented during the organization’s 101st annual meeting in Montgomery Dec. 5.
The Cultivator Award honors leaders who foster relationships to benefit farmers, members and rural communities.
Federation President Jimmy Parnell hailed Bolin’s moral compass, which has helped restore integrity to the court since his 2005 swearing-in.
“Justice Bolin reflects the conservative values our members live out on their farms and in their communities each day,” Parnell said. “It is a privilege to have supported Justice Bolin throughout his time of service on the Alabama Supreme Court, and it is an honor to recognize him for making tough decisions, rooted in the law, that make Alabama better. We are grateful for the legacy he leaves on the court.”
Bolin first earned the Federation’s endorsement in 2004 and is retiring in January after three 6-year terms on the state’s highest court.
“I have been blessed so much to have Alfa on my side,” said Bolin, 74. “The first people I met with after having my family’s blessing to run were members of the Farmers Federation.
“Alfa has an army of men and women who believe in good government. They are genuinely interested in the well-being of my state, and that gives them the spirit to go out and help good candidates who respect the law.”
Bolin is a personable public servant focused on protecting the sanctity of life, helping create strong families and upholding the Constitution — qualities Federation members embody and appreciate.
“I have great respect for the organization,” Bolin said. “Their philosophy is there in every case — to do things based on the rule of the law. They know that if you don’t like the rule of the law, you go to the legislature and fight to change it.”
Bolin, who attends St. Peter the Apostle Church in Hoover, credits career success to faith and family, particularly guidance from his late father, Franklin, who grew up on a farm in Lamar County. Bolin’s background brims with experience in family court and adoption cases, a major focus during his time as Jefferson County probate judge from 1988-2004.
Making his daughter proud fuels Bolin, too. He and wife Rosemary adopted Leigh Anne in 1992.
“I want my daughter to have the legacy that her father was a good man, tried to do the right thing and was a straight shooter,” Bolin said.
Bolin is a stickler for fair judgments, particularly in the adoption arena. He authored the Putative Father Registry Law in Alabama, which protects the rights of all parties in adoption proceedings; received a national award from Angels of Adoption in Washington, D.C.; and served in leadership within the Alabama Probate Judges Association. He’s also shared wisdom and encouragement with countless families navigating the complexities of adoption.
“It’s been a great ride, but I’m not sure I would have been on the train without that first endorsement from Alfa,” Bolin said. “And what I’m telling you is the truth from my heart. I’ll treasure this award. It will have a center place in my desk.”