By Josh Moon
Alabama Political Reporter
It didn’t take long for the Alabama Supreme Court judges lottery to turn contentious.
Before the court clerks even began to draw the names of the retired judges who will be asked to hear Chief Justice Roy Moore’s appeal of his suspension from the bench, Moore’s attorney interrupted to point out that a motion to continue the proceedings hasn’t yet been heard. That motion challenges the Supreme Court justices’ authority to select the judges, since the judges have recused themselves from the case.
Acting Chief Justice Lyn Stuart, who was attending the lottery, said the motion wouldn’t be heard, because “there’s no court to hear it.” (The other Supreme Court justices weren’t present.) Stuart also said she wouldn’t rule on the motion without the rest of the court, and then told the court staff to continue with drawing the names.
At that, Moore, his attorney and his supporters abruptly left the courtroom, but not before announcing the Stuart and everyone else in the courtroom that Moore would be speaking outside.
On the steps outside, Moore took issue with the Supreme Court selecting judges to hear his appeal, saying he thinks the judges should be selected by “elected officials” so they “will be accountable to the people.”
Inside, though, the process of selecting judges who will hear Moore’s appeal of his suspension for violating the judicial canons continued on. From a box – the same box the court used in 2003 when Moore was first removed from the bench over a Ten Commandments monument – the names of retired judges, written on slips of paper, were pulled out one by one by a court worker who was holding the box above her head.
The first seven of the 50 names selected will serve as the replacement Supreme Court. Until the retired judges decline or recuse, the first seven and current court is: Frank McGuire III, Ed McFerrin, Susan Moquin, Charles Price, Daniel Reynolds, Michael Nix and Robert Wilters.
The remaining 43 names, which included notables such as former Gov. John Patterson, former justice Ralph Cook.
Moore was suspended for issuing an order to the State’s probate judges instructing them to ignore a US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. Moore has denied issuing an order, instead calling it advice.
Gov. John Patterson