This is a long post, and a developing situation at that. I first became aware of Judge Roy Moore, the “Ten Commandments Judge,” a decade ago when I was in college. He refused to comply with a court order to remove a massive monument of the Ten Commandments from his courthouse, and because of that, he was stripped of his judgeship.
For this, he was made both into a martyr for the cause and something of a minor celebrity among the far-right who are über-religious.
Then, a little under a decade later, the (adjective removed) people of Alabama decided to elect him yet again to be the Supreme Court Chief Justice (of Alabama). Seems to me that a man who refuses to follow the ruling of the courts has no business being a judge.
And, he’s at it again. Specifically, the Federal court in Alabama ruled as every single other court (except the 6th Circuit) has for the past few years: the state ban on issuing marriage licenses to two people of the same gender is unconstitutional. Moore is all about nullification.
This post is made from several WND posts:
It is also made from several posts on other sites:
- “ALABAMA: SPLC Files Judicial Ethics Complaint Against Judge Roy Moore” –Joe My God (January 28, 2015)
- “ALABAMA: Federal Judge Clarifies Ruling, All Counties Must Issue Licenses” –Joe My God (January 28, 2015)
- “ALABAMA: Probate Judges Cave, Agree To Issue Marriage Licenses After Stay Ends” –Joe My God (January 28, 2015)
- “Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Encourages Defiance on Gay Marriage Ruling” –Jonathan Kaminsky via The Raw Story (January 29, 2015)
- “Anti-LGBT Groups Cheer On Roy Moore’s Standoff With Federal Courts” –Miranda Blue via Right Wing Watch (January 29, 2015)
- “Meet Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore’s Son, Lover Of Poon, Hoes, And “Niggas”” –Joe My God (January 29, 2015)
- “Alabama on a Collision Course with the Supreme Court Over Gay Marriage” –Amanda Holpuch for The Guardian via The Raw Story (January 30, 2015)
- “Alabama’s Judge Roy Moore Doubles Down on Pledge to Defy Marriage Equality” –Matt Baume via The Advocate (January 31, 2015)
- “Roy Moore: ‘Institution Of Marriage That God Ordained’ Is ‘Under Sustained Attack From Federal Judges'” –Miranda Blue via Right Wing Watch (February 02, 2015)
- “ALABAMA: Justice Roy Moore Tells State Officials Not To Issue Marriage Licenses” –Joe My God (February 04, 2015)
- “ALABAMA: HRC Petitions State To Take Action Against Chief Justice Roy Moore” –Joe My God (February 06, 2015)
Really, that first news snippet lays out the entire initiation:
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has released a letter to Gov. Robert Bentley saying that he intends to continue to recognize the state’s constitutional ban on same-sex marriage and urging the governor to do so.
Moore’s office released the three-page letter that was delivered to the governor this morning in response to a federal judge’s ruling Friday striking down the ban.
“As Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, I will continue to recognize the Alabama Constitution and the will of the people overwhelmingly expressed in the Sanctity of Marriage Amendment,” Moore wrote.
The problem is that legally (by court precedent, by federal law, and, well, the results of the Civil War), federal law trumps state law. Federal courts trump state courts. Federal Constitution trumps state constitution. There’s something called the Supremacy Clause in the US Constitution about this. But, Moore seems to think that only the Supreme Court can void a state law: “Moore said court precedents from throughout the state’s history make it clear that only the U.S. Supreme Court can overturn the highest court decision in the state system, so Granade’s decision, and a temporarily delayed order implementing it, was out of line.” FYI, this particular District Judge was an appointee of former President George W. Bush.
Pretty much everyone disagrees with him. For example: “Ronald Krotoszynski, a constitutional law expert at the University of Alabama School of Law, said Moore’s words carry little legal weight, as federal constitutional law trumps that of states. “There is no credible legal argument that an order from a federal judge with jurisdiction over a matter isn’t binding on a state government,” he said.””
As a side bar, Moore founded a group called the Foundation for Moral Law. It’s now run by his wife. Officially, the group has not responded to Moore’s letter to the governor, though it has said this:
“Alabamians approved the 2006 Sanctity of Marriage Amendment by 81% of the vote,” she said, “and the will of the people should not be lightly discarded in favor of an alleged right that is found nowhere in the Constitution.” She added that the Foundation bears no animus toward the plaintiffs in this case or in any other: “Jesus loves them, and He died for their sins as well as for mine. But homosexual conduct is still sin, and we must stand firm for what is right.”
As another (completely gratuitous) side bar, Judge Moore’s son isn’t as clean-cut as his papa, as JMG pointed out on January 29. His Twitter feed was quickly made private, but that was after people grabbed screenshots of him writing such illuminating things as: “Happiest of days to you my man @Tcopeland4 may much poon come your way #birthdaybash2014” or “I would love to meet the folks who think they go harder than these niggas #thecrew @Tcopeland4 @woods457 @JLHrastamon @Kyul_Landers” And lots of pictures of him with lots of alcohol.
Back to the story … In response to Moore’s letter urging the Governor to ignore the federal court ruling, the SPLC (Southern Poverty Law Center) has filed a formal judicial ethics complaint against Judge Moore:
over his public statements urging the governor and Alabama judges to defy federal law and enforce Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages. The complaint was filed with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama, which could recommend that Moore face ethics charges in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. That court removed Moore from the office of chief justice 12 years ago after he refused to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building.
“Moore is once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law,” said SPLC President Richard Cohen. “As a private citizen, Moore is entitled to his views. But as the chief justice of Alabama, he has a responsibility to recognize the supremacy of federal law and to conform his conduct to the canons of judicial ethics.”
JMG points out, “It was the SPLC’s 2003 complaint that first got Moore booted off the Alabama Supreme Court. He was reelected in 2012.”
At the same time as this, probate judges in Alabama were hoping for what the county clerks of Florida did, as well, but ultimately didn’t get: That maybe the Federal judge’s ruling would only apply to those particular plaintiffs and/or that particular county. No such luck, as the second JMG post I linked to points out: “Federal Judge Granade today clarified her ruling from last Friday, stipulating that it does indeed apply to all Alabama counties. […] Granade’s clarification cites federal Judge Robert Hinkle’s similar ruling in Florida.”
And, “The Alabama Probate Judges Association said it would follow her judgement.”
Moore, however, is not backing down. In response: “Alabama’s chief justice is telling probate judges that they are not required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite a federal judge’s decision overturning the state’s gay marriage ban. Roy Moore sent a letter Tuesday to probate judges, saying the judge’s decision isn’t binding on them.”
And, in response to that, the SPLC filed another ethics charge against Moore.
Besides interviews to such fair and balanced outlets as World Net Daily, he’s been on radio programs such as with Tony Perkins’ “Washington Watch” (Perkins is president of the Family Research Council), and with Sandy Rios on the American Family Association’s show. These may not help him if he is brought up, again, on ethics charges. This quote deals with his appearance with Perkins:
His latest appearance may turn out to be a gift to the Southern Poverty Law Center, which earlier this week filed a complaint against the Chief Justice after he first pledged to ignore pro-equality rulings. SPLC pointed out that Moore’s declaration constitutes numerous ethics violations, such as commenting on a pending case and encouraging lawlessness.
In his conversation with Perkins, Moore also lamented that the country no longer arrests and imprisons gays and lesbians, approvingly citing the 1986 case Bowers v. Hardwick, which legitimized anti-LGBT harassment by police. The FRC filed an antigay brief in the 2003 case Lawrence v. Texas, which overturned the Bowers ruling.
But, it’s not just the SPLC that is getting into this. The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) has started a petition that demands the Judicial Inquiry Commission take action against Judge Moore.
I’m getting this post out today because tomorrow, Monday February 9, the stay on Judge Granade’s order is lifted, and probate judges must begin to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or be in contempt of that court order.