Roy Moore slams high court's decision to uphold suspension
A special-empaneled Alabama Supreme Court doubled down on Chief Justice Roy Moore, less than an hour before he planned to call them on the carpet at a news conference Wednesday afternoon.
MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - "Isn't it curious, the case has been pending for six months," explained attorney Phillip Jauregui. "Two months ago we waived oral argument and asked the court to expedite this matter. Everyone knew we were here to talk about the delay, and the special Supreme Court rules for political reasons. There's no other explanation for the timing of this."
The special high court was made up of seven randomly chosen judges who replaced the sitting justices after they recused themselves. They upheld both the findings of Moore's case and his suspension after the Alabama Court of the Judiciary determined in September he violated six canons of judicial ethics. The panel found the chief justice illegally told the state's probate judges not to adhere to federal courts' orders on the issue of gay marriage.
"This case was a politically motivated effort by the Judicial Inquiry Commission and certain homosexual and transgender groups to remove me from office," Moore read from a prepared statement in the Old Supreme Court Chambers of the Alabama Capitol, "because of my steadfast opposition to same-sex marriage."
Moore and his attorney, who again Wednesday called the ruling illegal, have long slammed the unanimous decision of the ACJ and blamed 'radical homosexual and transgender groups' for getting him suspended.
"I have done my duty under the laws of this state," Moore said," to stand for the undeniable truth that God ordained marriage as the union of one man and one woman. Mere human judges have no authority to say otherwise."
"The decision reeks of corruption," added Rich Hobson of the Administrative Office of the Courts.
(News conference begins at approximately 8:30 mark)
Moore said those who sought to have him removed from the bench failed, "Although suspended, I remain Chief Justice."
The Court of the Judiciary didn't have the unanimous votes to remove Moore from office in September so it opted to suspend him from the bench for the remaining two years of his term.
Moore may hold the title of chief justice, but that's about it in relation to the state's highest court. He's effectively off the high court's bench for the second time in his career and will age out of eligibility (70 years) to run for a seat again once the term is up in 2019.
"This decision is illegal because it amounts to a removal under the term of suspension," Jauregui insisted.
Moore pointed to this ruling as evidence of corruption in the highest offices of Alabama's judicial branch. When asked if he planned to take legal or political action against the Alabama Supreme Court or the Court of the Judiciary, he deferred to the Alabama Legislature.
"It is the job of the Alabama Legislature to do away with this corrupt system," Moore stated. "We have a system already in effect where judges at the circuit level, the supreme court level, and the legislature, they have impeachment powers. Use this process to return the accountability and responsibility to the people."
The decision "will hurt me financially or compel my retirement to provide for my family," Moore stated. "While I remain Chief Justice, I have been given the longest suspension ever received by a judge in the history of this state."
Moore's statement, provided to the media, notes in contrast to his own lengthy suspension, that a judge who sent sexually explicit photos to a litigant before his court only received a six-month suspension and has since returned to the bench.
Liberty Counsel's Mat Staver, who represents Moore, called the decision "a tragedy" and said, "no judge is safe to issue orders or render dissents."
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, or SPLC, commented on the ruling stating "Roy Moore's violation of the Canons of Judicial Ethics was egregious. He got what he deserved. We'll all be better off without the Ayatollah of Alabama as our chief justice."
Moore was removed from his chief justice position in 2003 after refusing to remove a large, stone monument of the 10 Commandments from the judicial building. Moore later sought the seat again, winning it in a 2012 statewide election.
Moore dodged questions about resigning to run for the U.S. Senate or governor saying, "I will reveal my future plans next week."
If he does resign to seek another office, he would position new Gov. Kay Ivey to make her first major appointment.
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