Alabama federal judge Mark E. Fuller has been asked to step down by both of his state's senators following domestic violences charges filed against him by his wife. The pressure on Fuller comes as several people, including 16 female senators, have called for changes in the way the National Football League handles its series of domestic violence issues, and multiple players are facing allegations of related crimes.
According to The New York Times, Republican Sens. Richard C. Shelby and Jeff Sessions both called for Fuller's resignation this week. (Fuller was appointed by former President George W. Bush in 2002.) Rep. Martha Roby, also a Republican, said that impeachment should be a possibility, and Democratic Rep. Terri A. Sewell called for Fuller's resignation in a statement and via Twitter:
Last month Fuller was arrested following an altercation with his wife in an Alabama Ritz-Carlton. The argument started after Kelli Fuller, his wife, accused Mark Fuller of having an affair with a law clerk. Kelli Fuller said that her husband pulled her hair, threw her to the ground, dragged her, kicked her and hit her in the face several times, according to the Associated Press. Responding officers said they smelled alcohol in the room.
The police report says that Kelli Fuller "'answered the door in tears' and had visible cuts on her mouth and forehead when police arrived. They later documented bruises on her legs." Mark Fuller said that he threw her to the ground in self defense, after she threw a glass at him. Kelli Fuller's teenage son told authorities this wasn't the first incident to occur between his mother and stepfather.
The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals is investigating the incident, but as Steve Visser at the Atlanta Journal-Constitution notes, there's not much they can do except take away his cases (which they've done) or ask him to resign. "Federal judges have tenure for life unless Congress impeaches them and removes them from office," Visser wrote. Meanwhile, Fuller's misdemeanor charges may be dropped if he completes a domestic violence intervention program.