(a) Every justice of the Supreme Court, judge of the Court of Civil Appeals, judge of the Court of Criminal Appeals, and judge of the circuit court of the state holding office on September 18, 1973, shall have the right of election to come under this article. Each justice or judge holding office on September 18, 1973, shall have the right, within three years from September 18, 1973, to file with the clerk of the Supreme Court of Alabama, an instrument in writing electing to come under this article. Each justice or judge of such courts elected or appointed to office after September 18, 1973, shall come under this article as a matter of law. After September 18, 1973, each justice and each judge who has elected to come under this article as provided by this section or who comes under this article by operation of law shall contribute to the Judicial Retirement Fund four and one-half percent of his earnable compensation; provided, that after February 1, 1977, the rate of contribution to be paid by the justices and judges shall be six percent of their salary derived from the State of Alabama, but the increased rate of contribution shall not be effective until February 1, 1977. For all pay dates beginning on or after October 1, 2011, the contribution to be paid by the justices and judges shall be eight and one-quarter percent (8.25%) of their salary. For all pay dates beginning on or after October 1, 2012, the rate of contribution to be paid by the justices and judges shall be eight and one-half percent (8.5%) of their salary. The percentages shall be deducted by the state Comptroller from each justice's or judge's salary and paid into the Judicial Retirement Fund in the State Treasury and credited to the individual account of the justice or judge from whose salary it was deducted.
(b) Members of the retirement fund who heretofore, during a term for which they had been appointed or elected to a judicial office covered by this article for which prior service credit toward retirement under this article is given, entered the military services of the United States, and judicial officers covered by this article hereafter entering the Armed Forces of the United States who return to service as a justice or judge shall be given full credit for the time of such military service; provided, that a contribution shall be made into the Judicial Retirement Fund in an amount equal to that which would have been contributed had the member remained and served in the judicial office to which he had been duly elected or appointed. Request for the service credit must be made within 90 days after returning to service as the justice or judge or the service credit shall be forfeited forever. When requests for the service credit have been approved by the Board of Control of the Judicial Retirement Fund and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, contributions as required shall commence within 60 days and be made in equal payments within the following 12 months. Military service credit granted to a justice or a judge shall include credit for service during World War II, but, in computing any service with the armed forces for credit after World War II, service credit granted shall be limited to service for a period not to exceed five years, provided that the justice or judge was on official leave of absence from his or her judicial position and further provided that the length of service so granted shall not exceed the term of office for which the justice or judge had been appointed or elected prior to his or her entering military service.
(c) The Supreme Court of Alabama may provide that the state shall pick up member contributions to the Judicial Retirement Fund, as required by this section and Section 12-18-52, on behalf of all appellate justices or judges, circuit, and district judges who participate in the Judicial Retirement Fund and that the counties shall pick up member contributions to the Judicial Retirement Fund, as required by Section 12-18-81, on behalf of all probate judges who participate in the Judicial Retirement Fund, by a corresponding reduction in the salary of the member, the picking up to be mandatory for all the judges, and the contributions so picked up shall be treated as employer contributions in determining tax treatment under the Internal Revenue Code. These contributions shall be paid from the same source of funds which is used in paying earnings to the member. If member contributions are so picked up they shall be treated for all other purposes of state law in the same manner and to the same extent as member contributions made prior to the date picked up.