Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice, Roy Moore, speaks to the congregation of Kimberly Church of God, June 28, 2015, in Kimberley, Ala.
Photo by Butch Dill/AP

Alabama’s Moore gets kicked off the bench over ethics controversy

Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R), caught up in a sordid scandal, is already facing impeachment, while former Alabama state House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R) was recently sentenced to a four-year prison term following a multiple-count conviction on corruption charges. Can things get worse for the Yellowhammer State?

Actually, yes. The Alabama Media Group reported this afternoon on the fate of the state’s controversial state Supreme Court justice.
Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended from the bench for telling probate judges to defy federal orders regarding gay marriage.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary (COJ) issued the order Friday suspending Moore from the bench for the remainder of his term after a unanimous vote of the nine-member board…. The court found him guilty of all six charges of violation of the canons of judicial ethics.
Moore, whose term wasn’t set to expire until 2019, also learned that his suspension is effective immediately. It marks the end of his judicial career: as the report added, because of Moore’s age, he cannot run again for his post as the court’s chief justice (which in Alabama is an elected office).

As we discussed in May, Moore, in his official capacity, ordered Alabama’s probate judges earlier this year to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. The federal courts, not surprisingly, were not amused by Moore’s “creative” approach to American jurisprudence.

And neither was Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission, which accused Moore of having “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” – a charge that appears to coincide nicely with reality. Moore responded to the accusations by continuing to argue that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is still state law, because as far as he’s concerned, the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t count.

If all of this sounds familiar, it’s because Moore, a cause celebre for many on the far-right fringe, has been kicked off the bench once before for official misconduct.

As regular readers may recall, Moore was removed from the state Supreme Court in 2003 for ignoring federal court rulings he didn’t like – the issue at the time was Moore using his office to promote and endorse the Ten Commandments – because he believes federal courts have no jurisdiction in Alabama over First Amendment issues.

Once kicked off the bench, Moore simply sought his office anew, and the state’s voters quickly returned him to the same position. That won’t happen this time.

NBC News’ report added that Moore can still appeal his suspension to his colleagues on the state Supreme Court, though there’s no reason to assume those justices would favor his bizarre understanding of how the legal system works.


Alabama's Moore gets kicked off the bench over ethics controversy