By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Tuesday, June 7, 2016, US District Judge Callie Granade issued an order attempting to permanently overrule the Alabama Supreme Court regarding marriage. According to Judge Granade, the order is needed because state laws against same-sex marriage remain in effect, and the Alabama Supreme Court issued an order in March 2016 affirming three orders from 2015, that prohibited probate judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Judge Granade states that several Alabama Supreme Court Justices issued concurring opinions in March 2016, in which they take issue with the US Supreme Court marriage opinion.
The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver represents embattled Alabama Chief Justice Moore (R). Staver said in a statement, “While it was not her intent to help the case of Chief Justice Roy Moore, Federal Judge Granade’s order proves our argument that the charges against the Chief have no foundation. Following the 2015 orders of the Alabama Supreme Court and the US Supreme Court, probate judges sought clarity as to what they should do. In January 2016, Chief Justice Moore issued an Administrative Order advising the judges that the 2015 orders remained in effect and the Alabama Supreme Court would be issuing an opinion on their final disposition. In March 2016, the Alabama Supreme Court left the 2015 orders in place. How then can the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) single out Chief Justice Moore when he issued an accurate order regarding the status of the case and when the Court as a whole agreed with him? The JIC is not a court of law, is wrong on the law, and has no business wading into legal disputes. The JIC charge is politically motivated and must be dismissed.”
Chairman Staver continued, “Moreover, Judge Granade has no authority over the Alabama Supreme Court but she is acting as if she is the top appellate court in the State. The only Court that has authority over the Alabama Supreme Court is the US Supreme Court. The other parties are free to ask the US Supreme Court to review the case but they have refused to do so. Judge Granade is not the US Supreme Court. This order only validates the case that Justice Moore needed to address these conflicting orders. This is what we have said from the beginning. It clearly states the Alabama Supreme Court left the 2015 orders in place.”
The Montgomery based Foundation for Moral Law, which was founded by Chief Justice Moore issued their own statement on the Granade barring State officials from enforcing the provision of the Alabama Constitution that bans same-sex marriage.
Foundation President Kayla Moore said, “Judge Granade’s jurisdiction extends over only the Southern District of Alabama. She has no authority to bind officials in other parts of the State. It’s not over just because Judge Granade says it’s over. In fact, her order acknowledges that the Alabama Supreme Court’s March 4, 2016 order denying the parties’ motions and petitions did not vacate or set aside the Court’s March 3, 2015 writ of mandamus directing probate judges to follow the Alabama Constitution. That’s what we’ve been saying all along.” Kayla Moore is Chief Justice Moore’s wife.
The Senior Counsel for the Foundation John Eidsmoe said, “Much more than same-sex marriage is at stake here; this involves the whole federal versus state relationship in our constitutional system. The Obergefell decision was procured by illegitimate means because two Justices who had personally performed same-sex marriages refused to recuse, and it is utterly devoid of constitutional support. Article VI, Section 2 says the Constitution, federal laws, and federal treaties are the supreme law of the land; it says nothing of federal court decisions. Nothing in the Constitution says every federal, state, and local official has to march to the beat of a federal judge’s drum, no matter how erratic that drumbeat may be.”
Chief Justice Moore is on paid suspension awaiting trial before the Court of the Judiciary on charges, originally brought by the Montgomery based Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that he violated judicial ethics. The appointed court, if it finds Chief Justice Moore guilty, could remove or censure the popularly elected Alabama Chief Justice.
The Alabama Republican Party Executive Committee has asked that the charges against Moore be dropped.
The Court of the Judiciary had previously removed Chief Justice Moore for failing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the state judicial building as ordered by a federal district court judge. Those charges were also originally brought by the SPLC.
After his removal from the bench, Chief Justice Moore started the Foundation for Moral Law. He then ran for the Republican nomination for Governor unsuccessfully in 2006 and 2010. Moore was returned to his Chief Justice position by the people of Alabama in 2012. Many political insiders think Chief Justice Moore could be a Republican candidate for Governor of Alabama in 2018, whatever happens in this case.