Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is a perfect example of a judge who puts the Bible above the Constitution. If there’s a law he doesn’t like, he’ll just break it because be believes himself to be above it all. That’s what he did earlier this year when he told all probate judges in the state to stop issuing marriage licenses to gay couples, essentially overriding what the Supreme Court said was perfectly legal last year.
Of course, he’s most famous for installing a Ten Commandments monument in the courthouse in the dark of the night more than a decade ago — then refusing to remove it when law enforcement told him to. He was pulled from the bench at the time for violating the law… but then got re-elected to the Supreme Court in 2012. Because Alabama.
The point is he has a history of violating the law to advance his theocratic utopia.
The Birmingham News issued a blistering editorial against Moore a few months ago in which they called him “a two-bit politician wrapped in judicial robes, a grasper and attention-seeker with delusions of grandeur.” (Which I would love to see on the walls of the courthouse.)
You won’t be surprised to learn that Moore is currently at the center of an ethics probe. The Southern Poverty Law Center filed the motion back in January when Moore was getting in the way of gays and lesbians and their marriage licenses. In short, it’ll be up to the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama — the same group that removed him from the bench after the Ten Commandments debacle — to decide whether he can stay on again.
“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.”
Moore, as you might expect, sees this as Christian persecution.
Yesterday, he and his attorney Mat Staver (who previously represented Kim Davis) held a press conference arguing that the SPLC was wrong to bring the complaint to the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama. They said the U.S. Supreme Court is where complaints should be directed, as if a judicial inquiry commission has no business inquiring about justices.
Moore was quick to cast blame on everyone but himself:
This is not about any wrongdoing I’ve done. This is not about ethics. This is about marriage. And it’s about my legal judgments, which I’ve issued in administrative orders, which is in my capacity as Chief Justice to issue. This is about legalism. This is about what the law is…
This is only about the wrongdoing he’s done. Moore went on to blame “atheists, homosexuals and transgender individuals” for conspiring against him, saying that the complainant, whom he called a “transvestite” (instead of transgender), would have been described as having a “mental disorder” until very recently. What that has to do with the ethics probe is anyone’s guess.
Unfortunately, even if Moore is kicked off the Supreme Court again, it may work to his advantage as he’d be free to run for governor in two years. Moore ran in 2006 and 2010, losing both times in the Republican primary. But the bigger his platform gets and the more money he earns from the God’s Not Dead fan base, the easier it becomes to campaign successfully.