State Supreme Court unanimously upholds Roy Moore's removal

Faith Castro
April 20, 2017

Roy Moore, the only person to ever be relieved of their job as chief justice twice, responded to a ruling Wednesday by the Alabama State Supreme Court that upheld the decision to suspend him a year ago. The probate judges at the time of Moore's memo also were under a federal judge's order to stop enforcing the state's gay-marriage ban following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling. When asked if he will add his name to the list of Republicans running for governor in 2018, or U.S. Senate this year, he said he will announce his plans for the future next week after discussions with his family.

Moore said he considers his lengthy suspension to be an illegal punishment and in "clear disregard of the will of the people who elected me chief justice".

In its September suspension order, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary found that Moore's directive was contrary to both federal orders and Obergefell v. Hodges, the 2015 landmark U.S. Supreme Court case that found same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry.

Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, commented on the ruling stating "Roy Moore's violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics was egregious".

In his January 6 order, Moore said the state's probate judges had a "ministerial duty" to follow the state's same-sex marriage ban, not the federal judiciary's order in Obergefell v. Hodges that effectively legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Moore appealed the COJ's ruling to a special supreme court of retired judges appointed to hear the case. Seven judges chosen at random served on the special court that heard his appeal.

Moore in a press conference after the decision called the prosecution "politically" motivated and declared that he remains Chief Justice despite the suspension regarding an administrative order against the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples. "This opinion and the entire case against Chief Justice Moore is a tragedy". He got what he deserved.

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"God is faithful, the ultimate judge", Moore said. The "suspension" imposed against the Chief Justice is the longest suspension in the history of Alabama.

Moore did not discount a potential run for another political office.

Moore became famous first in 2003 for refusing to comply with a federal court order to remove a 2-ton Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Judicial Building.

Governor Kay Ivey announced a special election for the Senate seat vacated by Jeff Sessions and filled by Luther Strange upon appointment.

With his suspension, Moore has kept his title, but he lost his authority, his office and his employees. One Senate bill proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Alabama of 1901, to require legislative approval of affirmations by the Supreme Court of decisions by the Court of the Judiciary removing a judge from office.

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