Panel of retired judges to hear suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal

Panel of retired judges to hear suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore's appeal

MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - Alabama Supreme Court justices have recused themselves from hearing an appeal by suspended Chief Justice Roy Moore, instead deciding to select a panel from a pool of retired judges.

The justices recused themselves on Monday from hearing Moore's appeal because of the belief that their impartiality might be questioned.  By a 5-3 vote, it was decided that the names of 50 judges would be drawn randomly from a pool of retired appellate, circuit and district judges. The first seven pulled would serve as a special supreme court to hear Moore's appeal.

Moore had previously filed a motion to have four of the five justices, Lynn Stuart, Michael Bolin, James, Main and Greg Shaw, recused. Moore also argued that Justice Stuart should play no role in selecting replacement judges due to a conflict of interest and that a judge who is disqualified from acting cannot be the one to appoint a replacement, according to the Liberty Counsel.

A judicial panel suspended Moore for the remainder of his term after finding he urged state probate judges to defy the federal courts on gay marriage. Moore denied the accusations, saying he never told probate judges what to do.

Liberty Counsel Founder Mat Staver released this statement following Monday's decision:

"Chief Justice Moore is merely asking for the same thing any citizen is entitled to receive - equal justice under the law. He wants his case to be heard by an objective and fair panel of judges who will adhere to the rule of law. The people of Alabama have increasingly called upon their judges to be accountable. At every turn, this case presents new twists and turns that have never occurred in the history of Alabama. Never has there been a requirement that replacement judges all be retired. We hope this case moves quickly to a final and just resolution. The Court of the Judiciary violated the law when it suspended Chief Justice Moore for life even though it lacked the 9-0 vote. Never before under the unanimity requirement of COJ Rule 16 has any judge ever been suspended for the rest of the term. A sexting judge gets six months and a judge who writes a four-page order that is not unethical or unlawful gets suspended for life. This is not right."

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved. The Associated Press Contributed to this report.