Reaction to Roy Moore's removal from his position as chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court has been mixed. His supporters say they will fight on, even though they may be discouraged. Opponents argue the punishment was justified.
Reactions were swift from both sides and the public probably has not heard the last of this issue. Richard Cohen of the Southern Poverty Law Center sees this is a huge victory from a legal point of view, but made it clear Thursday, he isn't finished with Roy Moore.
Cohen, one of the attorneys who filed the initial ethics complaint against Moore, said "justice was served today." Cohen added the court and Alabama's attorney general were "courageous" in making the decision against Alabama's former chief justice. "They stood up to a popular political figure and said no one is above the law. We intend now to file a complaint with the Alabama State Bar Association asking that Moore be disbarred," remarked Cohen after the verdict.
Larry Darby of the Atheist Law Center, Inc. said this was never really about God or the Ten Commandments, but more about Roy Moore grabbing the spotlight. Darby says the rule of law won Thursday. "He's made a mockery of the system," said Darby.
On the other side of the issue, a day of sadness but also a time of looking forward as the fight for what they believe continues. "This is a like a funeral," said Patrick Mahoney of the Christian Defense Coalition. But Mahoney said people have not seen anything yet. "They have unleashed Chief Justice Moore on America...I can think of no greater spokesperson for our cause.
"I couldn't be more discouraged," said John Giles of the Christian Coalition of Alabama. But Giles also said the fight would go on and that Christian leaders have talked with members of Congress about "looking for creative ways to rein in the federal judiciary and to stop judicial activism."
Comments came in from around the nation in support of Moore. On his web site, Dr. James C. Dobson, founder and chairman of Focus on the Family, called the decision "an insult to all people of faith."
Dobson also had comments about Alabama Attorney General Bill Pryor, who prosecuted the case against Moore. "It appears that the attorney general is putting his own professional future ahead of what he knows as a Christian to be right and fair," Dobson said.
Dr. D. James Kennedy, Senior Minister of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, President of Coral Ridge Ministries, and a long-time friend and supporter of the former chief justice said in a written statement, "For too long, too many elected officials have bowed in submission to lawless federal court edicts that set aside life and liberty. They have stood by as, case by case, God and biblical morality have been removed from public life. At some point, the representatives of the people must defend the rule of law and oppose tyranny. Today, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary missed their opportunity to do so."