The Southern Poverty Law Center has just filed an ethics complaint against the Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Take a look at why.
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After two federal rulings supporting the freedom to marry for Alabama same-sex couples, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore warned he would not succumb to "tyranny!" from the federal government. In a three-page fire-and-brimstone letter sent to Republican Governor Robert Bentley, Moore warned "the destruction of that institution is upon us by federal courts using specious pretexts based on the Equal Protection, Due Process and Full Faith and Credit Clauses of the United States Constitution."
Now, the Southern Poverty Law Center is getting involved. The decades-old civil rights group best known for reducing the size and power of the KKK and more recently for expanding the scope of its hate group definition to include anti-gay groups, among others, the SPLC has filed an ethics complaint today against Moore with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama – the same Commission that once before removed Moore from his job.
The Commission, the SPLC writes, "could recommend that Moore face ethics charges in the Alabama Court of the Judiciary."
“Moore is once again wrapping himself in the Bible and thumbing his nose at the federal courts and federal law,” SPLC President Richard Cohen said in a statement. “As a private citizen, Moore is entitled to his views. But as the chief justice of Alabama, he has a responsibility to recognize the supremacy of federal law and to conform his conduct to the canons of judicial ethics.”
The SPLC says its complaint "describes how Moore has committed numerous ethics violations, noting that he is encouraging lawlessness by attempting to assemble a virtual army of state officials and judges to oppose the federal judiciary and its 'tyranny' – the opposite of what is expected from the state’s chief judge."
The SPLC notes additional "violations by Moore, including publicly commenting on a pending case – the federal case that overturned the ban – as well as impending cases: the same-sex marriage cases likely to come before state judges, including Moore, if same-sex marriage is legalized in Alabama."
In his letter, Moore also claimed, wrongly, that the State of Alabama is not bound by decisions of federal district or appellate courts, and stated any marriage licenses issued to same-sex couples "would be in defiance of the laws and Constitution of Alabama."
Moore was removed a decade ago from his job as Chief Justice after refusing to remove a stone monument (photo) of the Ten Commandments from the state courthouse.
Last year, Moore told an audience in Washington state that the intent of same-sex marriage is to destroy America. Moore also made headlines last year when he traveled to Mississippi, attacked same-sex marriage, and claimed the First Amendment applies only to Christians. In 2012, Moore claimed that the fight for same-sex marriage is not about allowing two men or two women to marry but about "destroying an institution ordained by God."
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