An Alabama Chief Justice Will Face Trial For Telling State Judges Not To Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses
Remember the Alabama judge who ordered judges in his state to ignore the Supreme Court ruling making same-sex marriage legal nationwide and refuse to issue the marriage licenses in January? Well, he’s finally facing the repercussions. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary decided Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore will go to trial in September for violating judicial ethics by rejecting his motion to dismiss the charges.
At the beginning of the year, Justice Moore issued an administrative ruling telling state probate judges that an order issued by the Alabama Supreme Court, a few months before the Supreme Court’s monumental decision in June 2015, saying not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples still stood. One of Justice Moore’s lawyers, Mat Staver, argued that the January order didn’t tell probate judges to disregard the Supreme Court ruling, but saying a previous order to refuse to marry gay couples was still in place implies that the SCOTUS order be violated.
Staver told Moore supporters outside the judicial building holding “Judge Moore was Right” signs the charges are politically motivated, also questioning why this justice was being so harshly punished by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission when a probate judge was just suspended for six months for sexting with a litigant by the same commission.
The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission wants Justice Moore completely removed from the bench. As it turns out, it wouldn’t be the first time. Back in 2003, the Alabama judge was kicked off the bench for defying a court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument form the state court building. He was re-elected as chief justice in 2012. Apparently he has a thing for ignoring court orders.
“They are trying him on something that happened 13 years ago,” Staver told reporters about the current case.
While the old case doesn’t dictate how he’ll be reprimanded now, it does show a clear pattern in how Justice Moore operates on the bench. AL.com reports that John Carroll, a former federal magistrate representing the Judicial Inquiry Commission, told the court: “We are here to talk about Chief Justice Roy Moore and his repeated refusal to follow the rule of law.” Keyword: repeated.
The Southern Poverty Law Center released a statement Tuesday saying, “Roy Moore has abused his power to push his personal agenda for far too long. He told 68 probate judges to defy a federal court oder that he disagrees with, and now he’s playing word games to save his skin… Alabama is a great state and it deserves better than a judge like Roy Moore who thinks he is above the law.”
Moore will go to trial Sept. 28, when nine judges will determine whether he violated judicial ethics and what his punishment should be if he did.