By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Friday, October 21, 2016, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R) has filed a motion with the Alabama Supreme Court siding with The Alabama Political Reporter’s (APR) request to unseal the record on the petition he filed in May 2016, against the Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC).
In his affidavit, which accompanies the motion to unseal, Chief Justice Moore stated: “I requested twice by motion that the case be unsealed once the JIC filed charges against me in the Court of the Judiciary on May 6, 2016. Once the charges were filed, the mandate for pre-filing confidentiality in the JIC rules was no longer relevant. For inexplicable and unstated reasons, the Special Court that ruled on this case denied both motions that I filed to unseal the record. I am the only person with a legally cognizable interest in confidentiality in this case. That interest dissipated once the JIC filed charges and the matter became public.”
The defense claims that under JIC Rule 5, the JIC investigation of a complaint is confidential, but the confidentiality ends when a charge is issued.
On May 4, Chief Justice Moore filed a petition with the Alabama Supreme Court against the JIC when he learned that the JIC’s investigation and impending charges were leaked to the media in violation of Rule 5. When the petition was filed on May 4, it was sealed because the JIC had not yet filed charges. On May 6, the JIC filed charges against him, two days after Moore’s petition.
The defense claims that once a charge is filed, the matter is no longer confidential. Chief Justice Moore and APR have requested the case be unsealed to the public. The case is No. 1150818, Ex parte Roy S. Moore (In re: Roy S. Moore v. Judicial Inquiry Commission of the State of Alabama).
Suspended Chief Justice Moore said in a statement, “Although I have not been removed from my position as Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court, my chief of staff and two attorneys in my office have been terminated and my secretary has been removed. Today, Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart ordered the court marshals to deny me access to my office at the Alabama Supreme Court.”
Moore’s appeal of the verdict is pending before the Alabama Supreme Court. Moore has filed a motion to recuse four current justices on the Alabama Supreme Court and three former justices who were specially appointed to hear the May petition. The defense has asked that neither Justice Stuart, nor any others he requested to recuse, play “any part in selecting replacement justices for that appeal.”
Although Moore remains the Chief Justice, his powers have been assumed by acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart. She sent Moore a letter telling him to clean out his office and remove his belongings. Moore’s name has been removed from the official Supreme Court letterhead. Stuart also fired Moore’s three staff attorneys and barred him from retrieving a file from his office. The defense is arguing that Moore’s suspension amounts to a removal, which would have required a unanimous vote of the COJ, which they did not have. Instead the majority of the COJ voted to suspend the Chief Justice without pay.
Chief Justice Moore is asking for the Justices to recuse themselves and that replacement justices be selected by a random and publicly observable drawing from a pool of sitting circuit judges.
Moore is being represented by Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said, “Chief Justice Moore is calling for an open and transparent process and wants nine unbiased judges to decide his case. These judges should not have conflicts of interest against him or his case. No one should act as if this case is already decided. Chief Justice Moore has done nothing illegal, immoral, or unethical, and the COJ lacked the required 9-0 vote to remove him from the bench.
APR filed a Motion to Intervene and Unseal with the Alabama Supreme Court in Case No. 1150818, Ex parte Roy S. Moore (petition for relief seeking to have the entire record unsealed and made public.
Chief Justice Moore has been asking for the Alabama press to file a motion to unseal that case; but only APR has come forward. Moore said in a statement, “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.”
Staver said, “I support The Alabama Political Reporter’s request to unseal the Supreme Court record. The public has a right to know the truth behind these politically-motivated charges and actions from the justices and the Court of the Judiciary.”