Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore Gets Justice and a Suspension

*The following is an opinion column by R Muse*

Due to America’s justice system, it often appears that there is no justice because it is not nearly as swift as most people think it should be. That is particularly true of highly-placed politicians, wealthy business executives, and even the people running the judicial system who seldom face justice. As is often the case, when justice seems to be either slow or non-existent, the kind of people inclined to violate the law believe they can continue unabated and are legally “above the law.”

Although the wheels of justice turn slowly, they do turn and for the second time in a little over a decade they stopped squarely on the Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore’s job. As was the case with Moore’s previous legal troubles, his evangelical extremism has garnered him exactly what he deserves; a suspension from the state’s supreme court. And, the good news for Alabama citizens weary of a Supreme Court justice devoted to the bible instead of the Constitution, that suspension may be the prelude to his removal from the bench for the second time.

The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) filed six charges against Roy Moore for not only disregarding the U.S. Supreme Court rulings on same-sex marriage, but for abusing his authority by ordering other judges to disobey federal law. The Commission noted that Judge Moore had “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” by ordering Alabama’s probate judges to reject applications for marriage licenses by same-sex couples.

The JIC charges stated that Judge Moore “knowingly ordered the state’s probate judges to commit violations of the Canons of Judicial Ethics and abandoned his role as a neutral and detached chief administrator of the judicial system.” In a typical move by an evangelical extremist that cannot accept he is not a law unto himself, Moore issued a statement in response to his suspension saying that the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission “has no authority” over him. Moore also claimed the JIC has no authority over his illegal administrative orders related to probate judges. Then he blamed the LGBT community for his being suspended and pledged to fight the JIC’s suspension.  Moore said,

The JIC has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite, and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations which support their agenda. We intend to fight this agenda vigorously and expect to prevail.”

Moore is, of course, wrong. The JIC did not have to listen to anyone, no matter their gender or sexual preference or advocacy for the LGBT community and adherence to the U.S. Constitution. The JIC listened to no better witness of Moore’s disregard for the law than Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore and any one of the several times he publicly thumbed his nose at the Constitution and boasted that he ordered the state’s probate judges to stop adhering to the Constitutional authority of the U.S. Supreme Court.

According to the Human Rights Campaign’s Alabama State Manager Eva Walton Kendrick,

Roy Moore is an embarrassment to the state of Alabama. He has repeatedly used his authority to discriminate against LGBT people and their families, and to defy federal marriage equality rulings. Moore’s suspension is welcome news, and we expect the Ethics Commission will permanently throw him out of office after reviewing his pattern of intentionally flouting the laws he vowed to uphold.”

Ms. Kendrick may get her wish because Moore’s legal troubles with Alabama’s judiciary is far from over. Next up for the evangelical extremist is a hearing in front of the Alabama State Court of the Judiciary where Moore faces the very real possibility of being removed from office for the second time in a dozen years.

Like any common criminal, Roy Moore has a history of breaking the law and unilaterally ruling that his religion is the law of the land and the Constitution is null and void. The last time Moore was Chief Justice of the state’s highest court he was excised from the bench for “satisfying his radical Christian extremism” and refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument.

Despite being ordered by a federal judge to remove the unconstitutional monument from the Alabama Judicial Building, Moore refused and the Court of the Judiciary summarily removed him from his position as Chief Justice on a unanimous vote. That action is precisely what should have happened to an avowed theocrat whose extremism has earned what Moore believes is an admirable reputation.

Indeed, Moore has a reputation as a Christian extremist with no respect for the federal judiciary or the U.S. Constitution. He is quoted as saying on at least one occasion: “The United States Supreme Court cannot supersede God, simply because the United States is a Christian nation.”

That statement alone should disqualify Moore from ever serving in any judicial capacity, but it is not necessarily the only one that reveals he is unqualified to be a judge. Last year Moore demonstrated his “appalling display of constitutional ignorance” and extremist religious bigotry when he declared that the Constitution’s First Amendment only applies to Christians.

As the Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen said, “Moore has disgraced his office for far too long. He’s such a religious zealot, such an egomaniac that he thinks he doesn’t have to follow federal court rulings he disagrees with. For the good of the state, he should be kicked out of office.”

It is true that Roy Moore has no place on the bench, because besides refusing to respect the law of the land, he has no respect for the United States Constitution he has sworn, on at least two occasions, to uphold. Moore should be kicked off the high court, but if the past is any indication, he will likely be back within a couple of years. Despite being removed from office for failing to uphold the U.S.  Constitution and follow a federal court’s orders, Moore easily won election to the chief justice’s position just three years ago and a few years after being removed for rejecting the Constitution for the bible.

The good religious folk of Alabama put the religious extremist back on the bench after flouting the law and Constitution because like Moore, they probably believe that America is a Christian nation and that the Constitution is subservient to the Christian bible, god almighty, and Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. Hopefully, the Alabama State Court of Judiciary will impress upon Roy Moore and Alabama theocrats that Moore, like his bible and extremist religion, have no place in any judiciary setting in a secular nation.

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