By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Saturday, May 7, the Human Rights Campaign and the Alabama Young Democrats Rainbow Caucus both released statements applauding the decision by the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission to suspend Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R).
HRC Alabama State Manager Eva Walton Kendrick said, “Roy Moore is an embarrassment to the state of Alabama. He has repeatedly used his authority to discriminate against LGBT people and their families, and to defy federal marriage equality rulings. Moore’s suspension is welcome news, and we expect the Ethics Commission will permanently throw him out of office after reviewing his pattern of intentionally flouting the laws he vowed to uphold.”
The HRC charged that since January 2015, when Alabama’s marriage ban was first struck down, Chief Justice Moore has used his position on the State Supreme Court to block marriage equality in Alabama at every juncture. Following the first ruling that found Alabama’s marriage equality ban unlawful, Moore wrote to a letter to Governor Robert Bentley requesting that the ruling be ignored as non-binding “judicial tyranny,” and informing the State’s probate judges that they could ignore the ruling.
The HRC and other civil rights organizations joined the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) ethics complaint with the Judicial Inquiry Commission of Alabama, seeking Moore’s removal for violating the obligations of his office. The SPLC complaint details what the HRC called, “Moore’s blatant disregard for the law, including communications with the Governor and members of the State’s Probate Judges Association.”
The HRC also collected and delivered to the Judicial Inquiry Committee petitions signed by 28,000 people demanding Moore’s removal.
The Rainbow Caucus of the Alabama Young Democrats also released a statement supporting the Southern Poverty Law Center’s crusade against Chief Justice Moore, that led to the JIC bringing charges against Moore.
The Caucus said in their own statement: “We wholeheartedly support the efforts of the SPLC in its complaints against Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore. We hope the Court will once again remove Moore from the bench for his continued disregard of the Constitution and the principles of our democracy.”
The Alabama YD Rainbow Caucus wrote, “The same members of the Republican Party of Alabama who have been allegedly using their offices for adulterous pursuits have been publicly fighting against the Supreme Court ruling on same-sex marriage with a stern message of “family values” and “protection of the sanctity of marriage.”
The Young Democrats Rainbow Caucus concluded, “Enough is enough. This behavior is hypocritical and embarrassing. Judge Moore has caused irreparable damage to our state with negative news stories for more than a decade. If Alabama has a chance of pulling ourself from last place at everything except football, we must remove Moore from the bench once and for all, and never consider him for a position in public service ever again.”
Moore was previously removed from his position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court in 2003, after the SPLC complained to the JIC because he failed to comply with a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument in the rotunda of the Alabama Judicial Building. The people of Alabama again elected Moore as Chief Justice in 2014.
Moore is one of the most polarizing political figures in the state and is considered to be a frontrunner for the GOP nomination for Governor in 2018. The free publicity from this latest effort to remove him from the court likely helps generate momentum. An effort to remove Alabama’s archaic age 70 mandatory retirement age for judges did not get passed in the 2016 Legislative Session.