Commission Files Six Charges Against Anti-Gay Judge
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Alabama Chief justice Roy Moore has been suspended and faces possible removal from office after a state commission Friday night charged him with six counts of ethics violations surrounding his actions against same-sex marriage. Moore in January ordered all probate judges in Alabama to not issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite the Supreme Court having ruled same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marriage.
The Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission has forwarded those charges to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. That court will hear and rule on the charges.
Despite rulings by both a federal judge and later, the U.S. Supreme Court, "Moore instructed probate judges throughout Alabama to ignore those higher courts and to refuse to issue licenses to same-sex couples," AL.com reports.
Moore and his attorney, the head of an anti-gay hate group, Liberty Counsel, last month held a press conference to explain his positions. He said, “transsexualism is a known mental illness,” and claimed there "is nothing in writing that you will find that I told anybody to disobey a federal court order. That’s not what I said.”
Clearly, the JIC filed a differing opinion.
Friday night, Moore told AL.com, "The Judicial Inquiry Commission has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations that support their agenda."
He also claimed the "Judicial Inquiry Commission has no authority over the administrative orders of the chief justice of Alabama or the legal injunctions of the Alabama Supreme Court prohibiting probate judges from issuing same-sex marriage licenses," meaning he does not recognize the JIC's authority to prosecute a case against him.
For now, Moore is suspended.
UPDATE I – 10:37 PM EDT:
The full document charging Moore is 293 pages, although most are footnotes and supporting case law. You can read it here.
UPDATE II: 10:47 PM EDT –
The charges are damning. There's no other way to put it. Legal experts will weigh in but it seems impossible at first glance that he will beat these charges.
Also, he might not care. Moore will run for governor and losing his job over this will solidify his base.
UPDATE III: 11:16 PM EDT –
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which filed the complaint against Judge Moore, weighs in:
More from SPLC President Richard Cohen:
"Chief Justice Roy 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."
As our ethics complaints lay out clearly, Moore has violated his oath of office and the Alabama Canons of Judicial Ethics multiple times.
He has urged state and local officials to violate a binding court order. He has repeatedly commented on pending cases. He has undermined the public’s confidence in the judiciary by denigrating the federal courts and complaining about what he has called “tyranny.”
And, he has improperly lent the prestige of his office to a group called the Foundation for Moral Law, an organization that he founded and that his wife now operates.
UPDATE IV: 11:39 PM EDT –
AL.com's political reporter:
This is a breaking news and developing story. Details may change. This story will be updated, and NCRM will likely publish follow-up stories on this news. Stay tuned and refresh for updates.
Image: Screenshot via AL.com