By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday, February 19, the pro-homosexual group Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Alabama filed an Alabama Open Records request for the government email and phone records of Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore. HRC Alabama is investigating whether Chief Justice Moore was responsible for developing a plan to stop same-sex marriages by enlisting two anti-gay marriage groups: the Alabama Policy Institute (API) and the Alabama Citizens Action Plan (ALCAP) to file emergency petitions to the Alabama Supreme Court.
HRC claims that these same records would reflect whether Justice Moore violated judicial codes of conduct by encouraging probate judges to deny LGBT couples their constitutional right to marry.
Last week, the two pro-traditional marriage conservative groups, API and ALCAP, filed an emergency petition to the Alabama Supreme Court, hoping to stop marriage equality across the state. On Friday, the Alabama Supreme Court voted 6-2 to take up the petition. Justice Moore did not vote. Responses to the petition were due at 5 p.m. Wednesday.
HRC Alabama State Director R. Ashley Jackson said, “We want to know whether Justice Moore inappropriately used the power of his office to direct legal strategy in a case before his own court. Judge Moore is no stranger to questionable legal ethics and Alabamians have the right to know whether their chief justice has acted inappropriately once again. We ask Justice Moore to come clean and voluntarily hand over these files.”
According to Alabama Open Records Law § 36-12-40 et seq., HRC Alabama has requested to publicly inspect Moore’s email communications containing the following terms: gay; lesbian; homosexual; marriage; or Granade. HRC Alabama has also requested the phone records from January 23, 2015 to present. The listed time frame begins from the day US District Judge Ginny Granade struck down Alabama’s ban on marriage.
HRC Alabama has accused Chief Justice Moore of creating legal chaos and great confusion around the same-sex marriages.
HRC Alabama Director R. Ashley Jackson said there was no legal basis for the Alabama Supreme Court action, “This new case is nothing more than an attempt to drag Alabama back toward the chaos of last week. This new case before the Alabama Supreme Court has absolutely zero legal basis, and we’re calling on the Governor, the Attorney General and the Alabama Supreme Court justices to rein in Chief Justice Roy Moore, follow the law, do the right thing and reject this scurrilous attempt to stop marriages in Alabama.”
The groups said that popular Chief Justice Roy Moore has repeatedly attempted to block probate judges from complying with a federal ruling striking down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage ban.
HRC Alabama collected and delivered 28,000 petitions, urging the Judicial Inquiry Commission to conduct a full ethics investigation of Chief Justice Moore. The petitions are in support of the ethics complaint submitted to the commission earlier this month by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The petition says, “By continuing to recognize Alabama’s unconstitutional same-sex marriage ban, Chief Justice Moore has done a disservice to the American judicial system and the people of Alabama. As a Justice in Alabama’s highest state court, he is obligated to be impartial and uphold the law without prejudice.”