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Moore Goes to Federal Court to Sue Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission

Brandon Moseley

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By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter

Friday, May 27 the Liberty Counsel filed a federal lawsuit against the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) charging that there are constitutional challenges to the charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) and the automatic removal provision of the Alabama Constitution.

The Liberty Counsel is also asking the court to immediately reinstate Chief Justice Moore.

The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Matt Staver, said in a statement, “The charges against Chief Justice Roy Moore must be dismissed. The JIC has no jurisdiction over an Administrative Order of the Chief Justice. Only the Alabama Supreme Court has jurisdiction, and that Court agreed with the Order. We are asking the federal court to strike down the automatic removal provision in the Alabama State Constitution and we are asking that Chief Justice Moore be immediately reinstated.”

The JIC has charged the Chief Justice with breaches in the judicial code of conduct. Moore has been suspended with pay pending trial.

The charges focus solely on his Administrative Order issued in January 2016, in which he wrote that the 2015 orders of the Alabama Supreme Court regarding same-sex “marriage” remained in effect until the Court held otherwise.

His defense argues that Chief Justice Moore did not participate in the 2015 orders, which ruled that the state’s Probate Judges must uphold the Alabama Sanctity of Marriage Act. They also claim that the automatic removal provision places far too much power in the JIC, which can just file charges and have a judge removed.

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Liberty Counsel is also asking the JIC to dismiss the charges because they claim that the JIC lacks authority to render legal opinions when it disagrees with a judge’s interpretation of the law. Liberty Counsel will also raise the JIC’s violation of the Confidentiality Rule that requires confidentiality of an investigation until a charge is made. In this case, the JIC intentionally leaked the pending charges to the media, which is a serious violation of the JIC rules.

On Thursday, May 26 Liberty Counsel objected to the JIC’s choice of prosecutor. The Judicial Inquiry Commission hired John Carroll, a former Legal Director of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), to prosecute Chief Justice Moore.

Staver said, “I have almost no words for this corrupt and unjust system. We have said that the charges are politically motivated and that the JIC violated its own rules of confidentiality. You would think that the JIC would be astute enough to at least avoid an appearance of bias, but obvious the JIC does not care. This is a brazen act that calls into question the entire JIC process.”

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Carroll teaches at the Cumberland School of Law.

Staver said, “e travesty of the politically motivated charges by the JIC against Chief Justice Roy Moore have become even clearer with the appointment by the JIC of a former Legal Director of the same organization that filed the charges. This is a miscarriage of justice of the highest sort.”

Liberty Counsel describes itself as an international nonprofit, litigation, education, and policy organization dedicated to advancing religious freedom, the sanctity of life, and the family since 1989, by providing pro bono assistance and representation on these and related topics.

Moore was previously removed from his elected position of chief justice in 2003 after the SPLC argued that having a Ten Commandments monument in the Supreme Court building somehow violated their rights. When Moore refused to honor a federal judge’s order demanding that the monument be removed the JIC removed the popular Chief Justice. Back then the Alabama Attorney General, then Bill Pryor, had to prosecute Moore before the Court of the Judiciary. The rules have changed since then so that the JIC has the authority to hire it’s own prosecutor. There is no word at this time how much Carroll is going to charge the people of Alabama for his legal services in this.

The Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee has recently met and passed a resolution demanding that the charges against Chief Justice Moore be dropped.

Brandon Moseley is a senior reporter with eight and a half years at Alabama Political Reporter. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Facebook. Brandon is a native of Moody, Alabama, a graduate of Auburn University, and a seventh generation Alabamian.

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Jones says Mitch McConnell failed country by adjourning without COVID-19 aid

Eddie Burkhalter

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U.S. Sen. Doug Jones speaks during a livestreamed press briefing. (VIA SEN. DOUG JONES'S OFFICE)

Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, on Friday expressed his concern over the Senate majority leader adjourning the Senate without passing another round of COVID-19 relief aid.  

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, adjourned the Senate until Sept. 8 without passage of relief aid that Jones said is critical for struggling citizens and businesses. 

Jones’s statement:

“Mitch McConnell’s decision to adjourn the Senate without any further efforts to fulfill the Senate’s obligation to the American public during a healthcare and economic crisis demonstrates an unconscionable failure of leadership. Congress acted swiftly in March as the pandemic took hold and every American who put their lives on hold and stayed home for weeks to prevent the spread of COVID-19 did so out of a patriotic duty and a belief that it would give our government leaders time to implement a plan to get this virus under control.

“Now, it’s been five months and not only do we still have no national strategy, our nation is facing some of the highest rates of coronavirus spread in the world, over 167,000 Americans dead, unprecedented housing and eviction crises on the horizon, and we are slowly coming out of the worst economy since the Great Depression and the highest level of unemployment ever recorded.

“The House of Representatives passed a relief bill on May 15th – three months ago – because it was clear even then that this virus would be with us longer than we had hoped and that more support to American businesses and American citizens would be needed to save lives and save livelihoods. Sadly, however, instead of using this legislation as a framework for a bipartisan relief package, Mitch McConnell buried it in his office and sat on his hands, letting vital programs expire without even participating in efforts to reach agreement. 

“His decision to send the Senate home for the next three weeks is an insult to every sacrifice made, every job lost, every small business that has had to close its doors, every person who had to say their final goodbye to a loved one over Facetime, and every graduation or wedding or birth celebrated over Zoom instead of in person. The American people have done their duty, and today Mitch McConnell has thrown in the towel and given up on doing his.”

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Governor’s chief of staff self-quarantining after wife tests positive for COVID-19

Eddie Burkhalter

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Gov. Kay Ivey's chief of staff Jo Bonner

Gov. Kay Ivey’s chief of staff is self-quarantining after his wife tested positive for COVID-19 earlier this week, but the governor was not exposed this week to either her chief of staff, Jo Bonner, or his wife, Ivey’s office said Friday. 

“After attending a visitation with some friends in Mobile last Friday, Jo Bonner’s wife, Janee, was notified Monday morning that a number of the attendees had tested positive for COVID-19,” said Ivey’s press secretary, Gina Maiola, in a statement to APR on Friday. 

“While asymptomatic and out of an abundance of caution, Janee was tested and received a positive result. Upon hearing this early Monday morning, Jo Bonner immediately self-quarantined and worked from home. He was not with the governor this week, and Janee has not been around the governor in several months. Jo is continuing to work from home and will not be back in the office until the normal CDC protocols for exposure have run,” Maiola said.

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Tuberville: “There is no doubt. We have got to play football”

Brandon Moseley

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Republican Senate nominee Tommy Tuberville

Former Auburn head football coach and GOP Senate candidate Tommy Tuberville said “we have got to play football” in an interview on Fox News when host Dana Perino asked Tuberville if college football should be played this year.

“Oh, there is no doubt, Dana, we have got to play football,” Tuberville said. “I know this is serious. The virus is serious. I have had friends sick in intensive care. I have actually lost a friend.”

“Let me tell you for every one person that has been sick 33 people in this country have been affected economically, socially, mentally,” Tuberville added. “We have got to get back to a normal life. We put men on the moon. We have got to be able to put our kids in a school, keep ’em protected, be socially responsible; but we have got to get back to school and a normal life.”

Tuberville warned that if we don’t get back to normal life, “our kids are the ones who are going to be affected if we don’t get back to playing football and sports and learning from each other.”

Perino asked if college athletes should be in some sort of a bubble like the NBA or Major League Baseball.

“Dana, what you got to remember is that high school kids and college kids all summer have been working with each other against each other dressing in dressing rooms,” Tuberville explained. “They have been around each other. It is like a big family. There is nobody more protected than college athletes and really high school athletes. They have got doctors. They have got ways to wash their clothes that are disinfected.”

Tuberville said that sports teams are used to dealing with infectious diseases.

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“We always have to fight the flu,” Tuberville said. “He had to fight staph infections. Those things are going to be there. They are going to be there forever.”

“We have got to fight back against this virus,” Tuberville said. “If it hits us hard we have got to take a step forward, and we can’t keep moving backward. What if this thing is still with us three years from now? We have got to move this country forward and what better way than to go back to school. Protect our kids.”

“If you don’t what to go to school, you don’t have to go,” Tuberville said. “Same thing with football. If you don’t want to play you don’t have to play.”

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“We have to get back to a normal life, but protection is the number one key,” Tuberville said. “And people are going to get infected and we can’t back up from it. Take em out like we did when I coached.”

Tuberville is the former head coach at Mississippi, Auburn, Texas Tech and Cincinnati.

The Ivy League, Big 10, MAC, PAC 12, SWAC and Mountain West Conferences have all voted to postpone the 2020 college football season to the spring. Many college football analysts are skeptical that there will ever be a spring season. That would mean play 22 college football games in one calendar year dramatically increasing injury risk.

The SEC, Big 12, and ACC have all announced their intention is to move forward with the college football season.

Tuberville on social media has slammed his opponent, incumbent Sen. Doug Jones, D-Alabama, for not voicing his support for playing football this fall.

“By not voicing support for providing teams that want to play with the opportunity to play, Doug Jones has once again failed to stand with the beliefs and desires that most Alabamians hold,” Tuberville said.

Tuberville and Jones will be on the Nov. 3 General Election ballot.

 

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Economy

ArcelorMittal announces expansion of Mobile County steel plant

Brandon Moseley

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(STOCK PHOTO)

ArcelorMittal announced its intention to build an Electric Arc Furnace steelmaking facility at AM/NS Calvert. Once the new furnace is completed, the planned facility will be capable of producing 1.5 million metric tonnes of steel slabs for the Hot Strip Mill and producing a broad spectrum of steel grades required for Calvert’s end-user markets.

Construction on the project is expected to take 24 months and the new facility is anticipated to produce an additional 300 jobs.

“An electric arc furnace at Calvert makes strategic sense as it allows our asset to be more reactive to the local market as well as being in line with the USMCA,” said Lakshmi Mittal, the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, referring to the U.S. Mexico Canada Agreement on trade which replaced NAFTA. ”Furthermore, it aligns with our ambition of producing smarter steels for a better world.”

Brad Davey is the CEO of ArcelorMittal North America.

“The addition of an EAF at AM/NS Calvert presents a transformational opportunity for what is already widely considered to be the world’s most advanced steel finishing facility,” Davey said. “This is a logical next step in optimizing AM/NS Calvert’s supply chain. Enhancing our already highly competitive lead times with short lead-time flexibility, combined with our existing world class facilities will give AM/NS Calvert a decisive competitive advantage.”

“In addition, the USMCA trade agreement is a ‘game changer’ for former NAFTA and as a result, future steel supply chains for the automotive markets will be required to use steel that was created within North America,” Davey explained. “A new EAF at AM/NS Calvert will further secure ArcelorMittal’s leadership in the North American Automotive market.”

“Alabama has a long heritage in steelmaking, and the decision by AM/NS Calvert to invest more than $500 million at its Mobile County mill represents another important development in the history of the industry in the state,” Gov. Kay Ivey said. “The growth will help the company serve customers in industries such as automotive with great ‘Made in Alabama’ steel.”

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Economic developer Nicole Jones told the Alabama Political Reporter, “The United States Mexica Canada trade agreement is a historic accomplishment by the Trump Administration on behalf of the American Worker that serves as a catalyst for job creation and new investments.”

“In Alabama, we are witnessing immediate results from terms outlined in the USMCA, specifically the requirement for the automobile industry to utilize more steel made in North America, with ArcelorMittal’s announcement,” Jones added. “ArcelorMittal chose to construct a new electric arc furnace steelmaking facility at its AM/NS mill in Calvert, Alabama. Metals and advanced materials is one of our state’s dominant industries. Alabama Department of Commerce data from 2018 shows that primary metal manufacturing exports valued at nearly $1.6 billion, and fabricated metal manufacturing exports valued at $382 million. The direct and indirect jobs resulting from this project will provide significant economic benefits for South Alabama and our entire state.”

AM/NS Calvert is already the world’s most advanced steel finishing facility and further demonstrates the highly successful partnership between ArcelorMittal and Nippon Steel Corporation.

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AM/NS Calvert was originally built by Thyssenkrupp, with a total investment cost of $4 billion. The plant was acquired by ArcelorMittal and NSC as a 50:50 joint venture in 2014. The joint venture has already invested more than $200 million into strategic projects in Calvert since its acquisition.

These capabilities combined with the geographic location and the new electric arc furnace will position the facility well for meeting the automotive and energy market demand well into the future.

ArcelorMittal is the world’s leading steel and mining company. It has a presence in 60 countries and operates steelmaking facilities in 18 countries. In 2019, ArcelorMittal had revenues of $70.6 billion and crude steel production of 89.8 million metric tonnes, while iron ore production reached 57.1 million metric tonnes.

ArcelorMittal says that their goal is to help build a better world with smarter steels. Steels made using innovative processes which use less energy, emit significantly less carbon and reduce costs. Steels that are cleaner, stronger and reusable. Steels for electric vehicles and renewable energy infrastructure that will support societies as they transform through this century.

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