Alabama Chief Justice Removed from Bench

     (CN) – Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore was removed from the bench Friday for defying the U.S. Supreme Court on gay marriage.
     The nine-member Alabama Court of the Judiciary found Moore defied the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell vs. Hodges decision, which legalized gay marriage nationally, when he told Alabama’s 68 probate judges six months later that they were still bound by a 2015 state court order to deny marriage licenses to gays.
     “Beyond question, at the time he issued the January 6, 2016, order, Chief Justice Roy Moore knew about Obergefell and its clear holding that the United States Constitution protects the right of same-sex couples to marry,” the court wrote in the unanimous decision.
     He has been suspended from the bench since May, when the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission accused him of violating judicial ethics.
     Moore had testified Wednesday that he wasn’t defying the U.S. Supreme Court, merely noting the fact Alabama Supreme Court’s order affirming the state’s marriage ban had not been lifted.
     “I gave them a status in the case. That is all I did,” Moore said.
     But lawyers for the Judicial Inquiry Commission told the court Moore had been on a mission to block gay marriage from coming to Alabama.
     This is the second time Moore has been removed from office by the Alabama Court of the Judiciary, but also undoubtedly the last.
     Moore’s term was set to end in 2019, at which time he will barred by law from running again because of his age. He’s 69 now, and Alabama has an age limit of 70 for judges.
     In 2003 the court removed Moore because he defied orders to remove a massive, 2 1/2 ton monument of the Ten Commandments from the state judicial building.
     He then ran for governor twice, and is said to have seriously considered running for president in 2012 before decided instead to run for chief justice. He won with a slim majority.
     The 50-page decision indicated that a majority of justices wanted to formally bar Moore from ever being chief judge — not just suspend him without pay — but they didn’t have the unanimous agreement.
     Richard Cohen, of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the Associated Press that Moore “was elected to be a judge, not a preacher.
     ” It’s something that he never seemed to understand,” Cohen said. “The people of Alabama who cherish the rule of law are not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama.”
     A lawyer for Moore called the decision a miscarriage of justice and announced an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court.
     “The rule of law should trump political agendas. Sadly, today that is not the case,” attorney Mat Staver said. “What this decision tells us today is that Montgomery has a long way to go to weed out abuse of political power and restore the rule of law.”
     Photo caption:
     Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore testifies during his ethics trial before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary at the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Wednesday Sept. 28, 2016. (Mickey Welsh/Montgomery Advertiser via AP, Pool)

%d bloggers like this: