By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, October 5, 2016, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) has filed an appeal of his suspension by the Court of the Judiciary (COJ).
Moore is being defended by Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement, “Liberty Counsel and the Chief Justice have appealed this case to the Alabama Supreme Court. These baseless charges should be dismissed and the Chief Justice should be reinstated.”
Chairman Staver said, “To suspend Chief Justice Moore for the duration of his term is a miscarriage of justice and the same as removal. The COJ lacked the unanimous votes to remove the Chief, so the majority instead chose to ignore the law and the rules. We will continue the fight for justice to prevail in this case.”
Moore’s defense team hopes that a new panel of judges will be convened to hear the case and that all the sitting justices of the Supreme Court should be recused.
The Chief Justice and his team claim that since removal requires a unanimous 9-0 vote by the members of the COJ, then absent a 9-0 unanimous vote, the COJ cannot remove a judge from the bench. They are arguing that suspending Moore without pay for the rest of his term is in fact a de facto removal, and is a violation of the COJ’s own rules.
The Chief Justice was suspended until 2019 because of a 2016 letter to the state’s probate judges in which he declined to give guidance on whether or not they should issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples or not, saying that the matter was still before the Alabama Supreme Court. This in spite of the fact that the US Supreme Court had earlier ruled that states can not define marriage as being only between one man and one woman.
Moore was previously removed by the COJ a decade ago for his failure to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Alabama Supreme Court Building after being told that having the monument in the building violated the rights of non-Bible believing lawyers who had business before the court.
Moore ran for Governor unsuccessfully in the Republican Primaries of both 2006 and 2010. In 2014 Moore was elected to serve another term as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore will be ineligible to run again for election as a judge due to Alabama’s mandatory retirement age for judges.
The Chief Justice has been mentioned as a possible candidate for Governor in 2018. Incumbent Robert Bentley is term limited from running again.