The last time Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore found himself in this position, it was because he refused to remove an enormous Ten Commandments monument from a state building.
That was in 2003. This time, Moore is under fire because of his insistence that state probate judges should defy the federal government and refuse marriage licenses for same-sex couples. The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission has recommended he be removed from office.
“Because the chief justice has proven — and promised — that he will not change his behavior, he has left this Court with no choice but to remove him from office to preserve the integrity, independence, impartiality of Alabama’s judiciary and the citizens who depend on it for justice,” lawyers for the commission wrote in the filing with the Alabama Court of the Judiciary.
The commission said Moore disrespected the judiciary when he told probate judges in January that a state injunction against same-sex marriage remained in “full force and effect” even though the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled six months earlier that gays and lesbians had a fundamental right to marry and a federal judge had ordered the judges not to enforce Alabama’s same-sex marriage ban.
Moore was indeed removed from office in 2003 after the Ten Commandments monument fiasco, but he was reelected to the position in 2012.
The state of Alabama struck down its ban on marriage equality in February 2015, and of course, the Supreme Court followed suit with a nationwide ruling the following June. Even after both of those decisions, Moore continued to demand counties not give marriage licenses to same-sex couples (most did anyway) and didn’t back down until this past March.
The Judicial Inquiry Commission filed charges against Moore in May, and he was suspended with pay.
Moore had previously said that marriage equality would destroy the nation.He also had equated the marriage equality ruling with the Dred Scott decision of 1857, which maintained slavery in the U.S., and said that enforcing it would be like obeying orders in Nazi Germany’s slaughter of Jews.
As for the next chapter, Moore has gotten the extremely anti-LGBT Liberty Counsel to represent him as the ethics complaint unfolds. Liberty Counsel claims that the state can’t suspend him while he’s under investigation; either way, he’s still collecting a paycheck. Here’s hoping that if he’s ousted again, he won’t be reinstated to a position for which he’s clearly not qualified.
(Thanks to Brian for the link)