By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Wednesday, October 12, 2016, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore issued a statement urging the unsealing of the case that underlies his motion for the recusal of certain current and former Supreme Court justices.
Chief Justice Moore stated, “The public is entitled to know what the Alabama Supreme Court has done in secret and to understand why the justices that participated in Case No. 1150818 are disqualified, not only from ruling on my appeal but also from playing any part in selecting replacement justices.”
Moore said, “The purpose of sealing a case is to protect the privacy of the parties from harmful disclosures, not to shield the Court from public understanding of its actions. I have, more than once, requested that this case be unsealed. The specially-constructed Court that ruled on Case No. 1150818 has consistently refused.”
The Chief Justice continued, “In 2000, the Alabama Supreme Court clearly stated that a judge who is disqualified for hearing a case cannot appoint a successor judge to hear the case.”
Moore argues that under the Canons of Judicial Ethics, a judge who has been removed from a case either voluntarily or by objection can take no further action in that case, not even the action of reassigning the case. “For such a judge to make the reassignment would be contrary to Canon 3(C) because the impartiality of the reassignment might reasonably be questioned.”
Chief Justice Moore also argued that “the Court’s desire to keep hidden the proceedings on the Petition for Relief filed by me in May 2016, is unconstitutional and violates Alabama’s open court’s provision. The chief purpose [of the open-courts provision] was to assail the existing evil of anciently holding courts in clandestine sessions.”
Moore concluded, “I call upon the press to demand that the Alabama Supreme Court unseal Case No. 1150818 and, if necessary, to intervene in that case. The public has a right to know why I have requested that the justices, who participated in that case, be disqualified from playing any role in my appeal. The Court has refused my requests to unseal Case No. 1150818. I ask the Supreme Court and the media to act.”
Moore objects to the order that the case be sealed, which means that the Chief Justice had to put the facts he believes substantiate his motion into a sealed affidavit, viewable only by his fellow justices.
Kayla Moore, the President of the Foundation for Moral Law and Roy Moore’s wife, wrote on Facebook, “The Chief has appealed the COJ’s decision to effectively remove him from office. The appeal goes to the Alabama Supreme Court where Associate Justice Lyn Stuart is the acting Chief Justice. It sounds like there’s been a real mess in the Court — but it’s all under seal. It is imperative that Justice Stuart recuse from this case, as well as Justice Mike Bolin (next in seniority to J. Stuart); they have serious conflict of interest. Of course Justice Shaw should recuse too (he essentially quoted the Southern Poverty Law Center verbatim in his opinion about Chief Justice Moore and Justice Bolin signed on to that). And, another justice is referred to in this motion but, we don’t know which one — it’s under seal. Wow.”
Chief Justice Moore was recently suspended for the rest of his term by the Court of the Judiciary after Moore was accused of violating the Canons of Judicial Ethics when he failed to order the Probate Judges to issue same-sex marriage licenses in January.