Alabama Chief Justice, Roy Moore, who has been long known for his opinion that his version of Khristianity trumps the Constitution has been charged with six counts of ethics violations because of his actions against marriage equality.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for disregarding a federal injunction.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for demonstrated unwillingness to follow clear law.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for abuse of administrative authority.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for substituting his judgement for the judgement of the judgement of the entire Alabama Supreme Court, including failure to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for interference with legal process and remedies in the United States District Court and/or Alabama Supreme Court related to proceedings in which Alabama probate judges were involved.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for failure to recuse himself from pending proceedings in the Alabama Supreme Court after making public comment and placing his impartiality into question.
The charges resulted from a complaint filed by the Southern Poverty Law Center, (SPLC).
In January, after SCOTUS decision on marriage equality in Obergefell v. Hodges, Moore issued an order to lower court judges, blocking the granting of marriage licenses to same-sex couples, stating,
Until further decision by the Alabama Supreme Court, the existing orders of the Alabama Supreme Court that Alabama probate judges have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Amendment or the Alabama Marriage Protection Act remain in full force and effect.
Last evening (05/06/16), after the charges were released, SPLC President Richard Cohen stated,
He is such an egomaniac and such a religious zealot that he thinks he can ignore court orders with impunity. For the sake of our state, he should be kicked out of office.
Moore responded to the charges by claiming,
The Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over the administrative orders of the chief justice of Alabama or the legal injunctions of the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses.
As Moore’s own history shows, they most certainly do!
This is not the first time, Moore has been suspended from his duties. In a previous stint as Alabama Chief Justice, Moore commissioned a monument with two large carved tablets inscribed with the Ten Commandments for the Alabama Supreme Court Building. At the dedication, he declared,
Today a cry has gone out across our land for the acknowledgment of that God upon whom this nation and our laws were founded….May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land.
Two months later, the ACLU of Alabama, Americans United for Separation of Church and State and the Southern Poverty Law Center filed a suit to have the monument be removed because it “sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular.”
Moore lost the suit and the appeal that followed. The judge had ruled that the monument was unconstitutional because it violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Moore was given until August 20, 2003 to remove it.
On the 14th of August, Moore stated that he was going to disobey the removal order. As of the 20th, as per the removal order, the state of Alabama was fined $5,000 a day. On the 21st, the other eight judges on the Alabama Supreme Court overruled Moore and ordered the monument removed.
On the 22nd, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) filed a complaint with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ). The complaint resulted in the suspension of Moore from the Chief Justice position until a hearing could be held.
The hearing was held on November 12th, 2003. During the hearing, Moore reiterated his statement that he would defy any ruling requiring the monument’s removal.
The next day, the COJ ruled that “Chief Justice Moore has violated the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics as alleged by the JIC in its complaint.” Due to his continued intransigence, the COJ decided that “under these circumstances, there is no penalty short of removal from office that would resolve this issue.” Moore was immediately removed from office.