By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, October 17, 2016, the suspended Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court Roy Moore (R) filed a motion to countermand the demands from Associate Supreme Court Justice Lyn Stuart (R) stating that Moore needs to clean out his office by October 18.
Stuart made the demand in two letters last week. She and Justice Michael Bolin (R) also summoned Chief Justice Roy Moore’s chief staff attorney and terminated him as well as two other full-time staff attorneys who had worked for the Chief Justice. All three had already been reassigned to work for other justices since Moore was suspended in May. A marshal and one of Stuart’s staff reportedly stayed with the three attorneys as they packed their belongings and turned in their keys.
The Motion to Countermand Justice Stuart’s October 11 letter states in part: “Any rulings to enforce, modify, or enlarge the judgment would properly arise from motion practice by the parties to the appeal, not by the unilateral action of the Acting Chief Justice. Justice Stuart is not a party to the appeal and has received no order either from the Court of the Judiciary or from the Alabama Supreme Court for the removal of the personal effects of the Chief Justice from his office. Her ultra vires action is an unlawful usurpation of the authority of the parties to the case and the judicial bodies entrusted with its resolution.”
Justice Stuart has assumed the duties of Chief Justice while Moore has been suspended.
Chief Justice Moore wrote in a statement, “My appeal is still pending but Justice Stuart is acting like she has already decided the appeal against me. I have asked Justices Stuart, Bolin, Main and Shaw to be recused from hearing my case. Justice Stuart’s action against me personally and the subsequent firing of the staff attorneys I hired is troublesome and such actions prejudge the case. Instead of acting as though my appeal has already been decided, I call upon these justices to recuse. None of them should have any role in appointing successor justices to hear my appeal.”
Chief Justice Moore continued, “I have been targeted for my belief in marriage, a belief shared by the majority of Americans. No one can point to any illegal, unlawful or unethical aspect of my four-page Administrative Order. That order was a status report on the case. A justice should not be removed from office because of a political agenda.”
Suspended Chief Justice Moore is being defended by Liberty Counsel.
The Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, Mat Staver wrote, “We are continuing to pursue the appeal. This case is far from over and no one should prejudge the outcome.”
Moore was suspended for the rest of his term by the Court of the Judiciary (COJ). Moore was not actually removed from his role as Chief Justice as that requires a unanimous decision by the COJ. Instead the majority voted to suspend the Chief Justice a move that Moore’s defense argues amounts to a defacto removal, something that they can not do without a unanimous ruling, which they did not have.
Because Moore was suspended rather than removed, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley is unable to appoint someone to fill the vacancy on the court.
Moore has appealed the ruling to the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore is asking that his case be unsealed so that the details can be seen by the public.
Moore, who was previously removed as Chief Justice during his first term over refusing to obey a federal court order demanding that he remove the Ten Commandments display from the Alabama Supreme Court Building is barred from running for a third term as Chief Justice because of Alabama’s mandatory 70 year old retirement age for judges.
Moore however has been mentioned as a possible 2018 Republican candidate for Governor….an office that Moore has run for twice without success.