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For many conservatives, it’s about the courts, not Moore

Roy Moore leaves the Alabama Judicial Building in Montgomery, Ala., on Thursday October 27, 2016 as the lottery is held to pick the judges who will hear his appeal.

By Bill Britt
Alabama Political Reporter

Over the last several weeks, Republicans of all stripes have struggled to come to terms with accusations leveled at U.S. Senate candidate Judge Roy S. Moore. He is not the standard bearer the party establishment wanted; he has never been universally accepted by all in the Grand Old Party, and to say that liberal Democrats loathe Moore is perhaps the understatement of 2017. But what most faith and values voters realize is that a vote for Moore on Dec. 12 is greater than one man or party.

As ultra-conservative commentator Patrick J. Buchanan has noted, “ [T]he skid’s been greased for a conservative recapture of the federal judiciary unseen since the early days of FDR,” Buchanan said, “Eighteen of the 179 seats on the U.S. appellate courts and 119 of the 677 seats on federal district courts are already open.” He further writes, “More will be opening up. No president in decades has seen the opportunity Trump has to remake the federal judiciary.”

On social media, there are ads that read, “I’m pro-life, and I’m voting for Doug Jones.” But here again, the stakes are higher than pro-life versus pro-choice.

Christian Conservatives are playing a long game in which there is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to reshape the federal judiciary from top to bottom. A vote for Democrat Jones will likely upend those plans for a generation.

Many Republicans in Alabama voted Donald J. Trump for president because they believed he would appoint conservatives to the Supreme Court and throughout the federal judiciary. Conservatives understand that if Jones wins the U.S. Senate race on Dec. 12, he will only hold the seat until the 2020 election when he will be defeated by a more acceptable Republican. But 2020, some say, will be too late, and this unprecedented opportunity to change the courts will have passed.

Moore is a divisive character, and his go-it-alone bravado and martyr-like halo leave many feeling vaguely nauseous if not downright ill. His stand on same-sex marriage has made him a pariah in the media, and his stand on the Ten Commandments has troubled those who respect settled law. But there are those who will never accept federal law as absolute when it comes to what they see as a moral issue, and that is why they believe changing the court will change the trajectory of the nation.

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Currently, the Republican Senate and President Trump are working in tandem to fill as many federal court vacancies as possible before a new Congress is sworn in January 2019, as Buchanan has pointed out. A Jones victory will upset the balance rendering the Senate impotent.

There is a conundrum for conservatives, especially faith and values voters. Do they believe a report in The Washington Post or do they support the Republican candidate? – Even now, as the hysteria recedes, some of the details in the media’s reporting are coming unglued – So, do conservatives believe the media or Moore?

Moderate Republicans and country-club types will never accept Moore. He is, at best, an anachronism and perhaps even worse: a throwback to shameful days of segregation.

But if anyone is still wondering why Moore has support among conservatives — look no further than the courts for a simple answer.


Written By

Bill Britt is editor-in-chief at the Alabama Political Reporter and host of The Voice of Alabama Politics. You can email him at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter.