MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Liberty Counsel has filed a federal lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission on behalf of Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore.
According to Liberty Counsel, the lawsuit, which was filed on Friday against the JIC, raises constitutional challenges to the charges against Moore and the automatic removal provision of the Alabama Constitution. Liberty Counsel is also asking the court to immediately reinstate Moore to his position as Chief Justice.
Liberty Counsel states that the lawsuit comes after Moore was suspended earlier in May when the JIC filed charges against him for his Administrative Order issued in January, in which he wrote that the 2015 orders of the Alabama Supreme Court regarding same-sex marriage remained in effect until the court held otherwise. According to Liberty Counsel, Moore did not participate in the 2015 orders, which ruled that the state's probate judges must uphold the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Act.
Under the Alabama Constitution, any judge who is charged by the JIC is automatically removed from the bench pending trial before the Court of the Judiciary.
According to Liberty Counsel, this procedure violates due process and other constitutional protections, and that the automatic removal provision places far too much power in the JIC as they can just file charges and have a judge removed.
The counsel says it will also soon file in the Court of the Judiciary asking that the charges against Moore be dismissed because the JIC lacks authority to render legal opinions when it disagrees with a judge's interpretation of the law.
In addition, the counsel will raise the JIC's violation of the Confidentiality Rule that requires confidentiality of an investigation until a charge is made. In this case, according to Liberty Counsel, the JIC intentionally leaked the pending charges to the media, which is a violation of the JIC rules.
"The charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore must be dismissed. The JIC has no jurisdiction over an Administrative Order of the Chief Justice. Only the Alabama Supreme Court has jurisdiction, and that court agreed with the order," said Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel. "We are asking the federal court to strike down the automatic removal provision in the Alabama State Constitution and we are asking that Chief Justice Moore be immediately reinstated."
The following is a copy of the lawsuit that was filed on Friday.
We have reached out to the JIC, but at this time they say they have no comment.