By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
Monday, October 31, 2016, Alabama Governor Robert Bentley (R) signed Executive Order Number 25. This Executive Order names, as Associate Justices, the seven judges who will constitute the Special Supreme Court that will hear the appeal of suspended Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore (R).
The complete list of the seven judges to hear Chief Justice Moore’s appeal include: H. Edward McFerrin, Robert G. Cahill, William R. King, John D. Coggin, Ralph A. Ferguson Jr., Lynn Clardy Bright, and James H. Reid Jr.
On Thursday, October 27, 2016, the Alabama Supreme Court drew names of judges from a pool of retired appellate justices and judges, retired circuit court judges and district court judges. The clerk of the Alabama Supreme Court then provided the Governor with the names of the seven judges selected and willing to serve.
Moore had wanted sitting elected judges instead of retirees. While the retired judges’ names were literally being drawn from a hat, Chief Justice Moore said in a statement to reporters outside of the State Supreme Court building, “I object to the procedure that is happening inside. These judges should be selected from a body of elected officials so they are accountable to the people.”
Chief Justice Moore is being represented by Liberty Counsel.
Liberty Counsel Founder and Chairman Mat Staver said in a statement on Thursday, “We will review the names of the seven judges that are selected and make a decision about whether there are names that raise conflict of interest concerns.”
Staver said that, “Chief Justice Moore is merely asking for the same thing any citizen is entitled to receive – equal justice under the law. He is not wanting judges that have a bias for or against him. He wants judges who will follow the rule of law. Politics and ideology have no place in the final outcome of this case. Objective and dispassionate adherence to the rule of law is what the Chief Justice and every citizen deserves. This case has had far too many irregularities and political agendas. We look forward to receiving a fair hearing.”
In September the majority of the Judges on the appointed Court of the Judiciary (COJ) found Moore guilty of violating the Canons of judicial ethics and suspended him for the rest of his term. Moore is arguing that he is not guilty and that the COJ’s 28 month suspension amounts to a removal from office, something that the COJ can not do without a unanimous verdict, which they did not have.
Moore has appealed the COJ decision to the State Supreme Court. Moore asked that four of the eight justices be recused. The Court voted to recuse the whole court and in a 5 to 3 decision voted to stead of appoint the seven retired judges to hear Chief Justice Moore’s appeal.