By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter
Chief Justice Roy Moore has now served 11 months of his suspension—longer than any other judge in the history of the State of Alabama—without a ruling from the specially selected Supreme Court.
Moore waived his requests for oral arguments and asked for an expedited ruling in late February, 2017, and the Court granted these requests two weeks later. Despite these efforts to facilitate the process, Moore’s fate remains in limbo because the Special Supreme Court has failed to act.
Why the delay?
Those who agree that Moore conviction was properly adjudicated and those who believe that his prosecution was politicly motivated should all agree that Judge Moore deserves basic fairness afforded to all Americans: an answer from the court.
The only ruling yet to come from the Special Supreme Court. It is a terrible one that sets the precedent that all JIC findings remain secret, even after they are adjudicated. This violates every principle of an open and honest system of justice and casts a pall over the entire process that removed the Chief of the State’s highest court.
All of the briefs in Moore’s case were filed in January. All the judges need do is read the briefs and rule.
The members of the selected supreme court are:
Judge James Reid, Baldwin County
Judge Billy King, Crenshaw County
Judge Sonny Ferguson, Jefferson County
Judge Robert Cahill, Jefferson County
Judge John Coggin, Cherokee County
Judge Lynn Bright, Montgomery County
Judge Ed McFerrin, Butler County
Each one of these judges is retired and presides over no other cases.
One case, one ruling yet months have passed without action from these appointed justices.
Chief Justice Roy Moore appealed the Court of the Judiciary’s decision in October 2016 to the Supreme Court of Alabama. The justices of that Court recused themselves and Lyn Stuart, the acting chief justice, chose the specially selected Supreme Court.
Moore has been without pay for over six months—longer than any other judge in the history of the State of Alabama. Even the Tallapoosa County Probate Judge, who was suspended for six months without pay for sending pictures of his genitals to a former litigant in his courtroom, is back on the bench today.
Is it possible that the Special Supreme Court does not know what to do? Could it be that the sanctions imposed, which amounts to removal from office (2 years, 4 months suspension), is an illegal sanction because it required a unanimous vote by the Court of the Judiciary, which did not happen?
Is the Alabama Supreme Court, using the specially selected Supreme court, trying to force Moore to retire so they do not have to rule on the sanctions?
Whatever the reasoning for the delay the case against the State’s Chief Justice now appears more political and less in furtherance of justice and fairness.
It would appear that in the shadows of the Supreme Court and in the backrooms of political dealmaking, some are deeply afraid of Roy Moore.