Although we have heard little so far of Alma’s activities in the church since his conversion, it is evident that he had sufficiently proved himself to the people and Mosiah. Mosiah had granted to him the custody of the records of the Nephites (Mosiah 28:20), and Mosiah’s people had elected him to be the first chief judge.
B. H. Roberts
“It is difficult to determine with precision the entire character of the constitution of the Nephite democracy. But from what is written in the Book of Mormon this much may be learned: The chief judge, elected by the people, was the supreme governor of the land, the chief executive. His oath of office bound him ’to judge righteously, and to keep the peace and the freedom of the people, and grant unto them the sacred privileges to worship the Lord their God; to support and maintain the laws of God all his days, and to bring the wicked to justice, according to their crimes.’ (Alma 50:39) A similar oath was doubtless administered to the inferior judges. To a limited extent also legislative powers were granted to the chief judge, but these powers appear to have been limited to framing laws, which were not of force until ratified by the voice of the people. No limit seems to have been set to the term of office of the chief judge, but as the voice of the people placed him in office, the same power could also dismiss him from it; and it may be that the power of impeachment, vested in a certain number of inferior judges…extended to deposing even the chief judge. In any event it may be concluded that he held his position only during good behavior.” (New Witnesses For God, vol. 2, p. 244)