Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) is facing impeachment. Alabama state House Speaker Mike Hubbard (R) is currently awaiting trial on 23 felony counts. Things couldn’t get much worse for state government, right?
Wrong. Not only are the heads of the state’s executive and legislative branches in serious trouble, but as the Alabama Media Group reports, so too is the head of the state’s judicial branch.
For the second time in his career, Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore faces charges before the Alabama Court of the Judiciary and potential removal from office. […]On Friday, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission forwarded charges to the commission, accusing the chief justice of violating judicial ethics in his opposition to same-sex marriage.
While the matter is being adjudicated, Moore has been suspended with pay. The right-wing jurist will not participate in cases pending at the Alabama Supreme Court.
Regular readers may recall the basis for the controversy. In January, Moore, in his capacity as the chief justice of the state’s highest court, ordered Alabama’s probate judges to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on marriage equality. The federal courts, not surprisingly, were not amused.
And apparently neither was Alabama’s Judicial Inquiry Commission, which accused Moore on Friday of having “flagrantly disregarded and abused his authority” – a charge that appears to coincide nicely with reality.
A New York Times report added that Moore’s case will likely be heard “before the state’s Court of the Judiciary, a panel of judges, lawyers and other appointees. Among possible outcomes at such a hearing would be his removal from office.”
It wouldn’t be the first time. Moore was kicked off 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.
Now he faces an eerily similar set of circumstances.
Also note that as recently as two weeks ago, Moore continued to argue that Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriages is still state law, because he believes the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling doesn’t count.
As for the state of government affairs in Alabama, the Birmingham News’ John Archibald wrote a brutal column in March noting that the state government is simply unraveling. “This is not a war,” he concluded. “It’s a massacre, and annihilation. The very people Alabama elected to manage the state and help it to prosper are the ones who burned our village to the ground and salted the fields.”
Oddly enough, nearly three months later, conditions are slightly worse.