By Susan Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
MONTGOMERY—Following the Court of the Judiciary Trial of Chief Justice Roy Moore, an eager press waited for commentary outside the Heflin-Tolbert Judicial Building on Wednesday.
Neither Chief Justice Moore, his attorneys nor the Judicial Inquiry Commission’s (JIC) attorneys spoke to the media. Justice Moore is not anticipated to comment on the trial until the court reaches a decision.
Dueling protests, both in support and against Moore, raged on the Courthouse steps, replete with signs and sound systems.
Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), was the first to speak to the press. Cohen said that it was the SPLC who made the complaint against Moore to the JIC. “I really wish that everyone in Alabama could have been in the courtroom today, because they would have seen and it was absolutely clear that Justice Moore urged the State probate judges to defy a federal court injunction and to ignore the Supreme Court’s decision in the Obergerfell case.” He said that while Moore may oppose same-sex marriage, he should not be allowed to use his office to block the “law of the land.”
“The people of Alabama deserve a chief justice who will follow the law; who will uphold the law. Not a chief justice that will undermine it and injure the integrity of the Court of the Judiciary,” stated Cohen.
State Auditor Jim Ziegler also spoke saying, “The decision to remove a judge by the Court of the Judiciary must be a unanimous decision. I am convinced that one or all of the members of the panel will not vote to remove Chief Justice Roy Moore.” Ziegler said that the Court may not be able to reach a unanimous decision and that Moore would be returned to the bench. He said that there were other options for sanctions in this case, but that, apparently, the JIC attorneys had taken all but the harshest off of the table.
“The Chief Justice and his attorneys have raised more than a cloud against the standard of clear and convincing evidence.” An administrative order is not misconduct. There was no clear and convincing proof of a defiance of a federal court order,’ said Ziegler.
As court was adjourning, Chief Judge Michael Joiner stated, that he did not anticipate a decision the day of the trial, but expected one within the ten day required window.