By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Thursday, October 13, 2016, Chief Justice Roy Moore’s (R) defense team accused the Court of the Judiciary (COJ) of inventing a punishment, “That is much worse than removal because the Chief is left without salary, benefits, and the ability to receive retirement or earn any income. When his term expires in January 2019, Chief Justice Moore cannot run again for election as a judge due to his age. Therefore, the suspension until the end of his term is a de facto removal from the bench and is far more punitive.”
Chief Justice Moore is defended by Liberty Counsel.
The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver said, “the COJ admitted it lacked the nine unanimous votes required by the rules to remove Chief Justice Moore. At that point, the charges should have been dismissed. The case should be over and Chief Justice Moore should have returned to the Supreme Court. But instead, the COJ invented a punishment that is worse than removal. A unanimous vote is required to remove a judge and the COJ has no authority to violate the rules that govern the court.”
Chief Justice Moore can not get a job because, “Section 150 of Article 6 of the Alabama Constitution states that justices of the supreme court or other judges ‘shall receive no fees or perquisites, nor hold any office, except judicial offices, of profit or trust under this state or the United States, or any other government, during the term for which they have been elected or appointed.’”
The Defense said that whether this applies to Chief Justice Moore is unclear because no one has ever been put in this situation before. In theory, if Moore obtained other employment, that could be a violation of the Constitution for which he could be removed from the bench, effectively ending his appeal.
The defense said that, “Removal and suspension for life removes a judge from the bench without pay. But removal would allow Chief Justice Moore to collect his retirement and earn a living. Suspension for life removes the Chief from the bench without pay, insurance and prohibits him from drawing on his retirement. Suspension for life is a greater form of punishment than removal because the Judicial Canons prevent the Chief from earning a living outside of his judicial role.”
Staver claimed that, “The COJ violated the clear rule of law. The result of its invented punishment of suspending the Chief for life is intolerable and inhumane.”
Moore has filed an appeal of the COJ majority ruling.
Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart has issued Moore a letter directing him to remove all his personal items from his office by October 18, 2016. Stuart has also modified the official Alabama Supreme Court letterhead and removed Chief Justice Moore’s name.