The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

(Reuters) – The chief justice of Alabama’s Supreme Court was effectively ousted on Friday by a judicial panel that found he unethically resisted U.S. court rulings that legalized same-sex marriage.

Chief Justice Roy Moore, 69, violated judicial ethics with an order seen as directing probate judges to withhold marriage licenses from same-sex couples, defying federal court decisions, the Alabama Court of the Judiciary ruled.

It was the second suspension for the outspokenly conservative Moore. Earlier, he was sanctioned for refusing to remove a monument of the Ten Commandments in a state building.

Moore on Friday blasted the decision that followed a trial earlier this week.

“This was a politically motivated effort by radical homosexual and transgender groups to remove me as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court because of outspoken opposition to their immoral agenda,” he said in a statement on social media.

His lawyer, Mat Staver, said he plans to appeal the unanimous decision to suspend Moore without pay for the rest of his term, effective immediately. Staver said it essentially removes Moore from the bench, as the chief justice will be too old to seek re-election at his term’s end in January 2019.

Civil rights proponents hailed the move. “The people of Alabama who cherish the rule of law are not going to miss the Ayatollah of Alabama,” Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, said in a statement.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary said in the ruling that Moore’s Jan. 6 order showed “disregard for binding federal law” after the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark June 2015 decision giving gay and lesbian couples the right to marry.

The judiciary court rejected the chief justice’s argument that he was providing a status update. Moore has insisted there was uncertainty after conflicting opinions on gay marriage from state and federal courts.

“I think this ruling is an abuse of power,” Moore’s lawyer, Staver, said by phone. “It’s a de facto removal.”

The ruling noted the state judiciary court had removed Moore from the bench in 2003 for defying a federal order to take down a Ten Commandments monument he installed in the state’s judicial building. Voters re-elected him as chief justice in 2012.

He was charged after the Southern Poverty Law Center filed ethics complaints.

“It undermined the integrity of the judiciary, the spectacle of a chief justice telling other judges not to follow a court order,” the SPLC’s Cohen said by phone.

(Reporting by Letitia Stein in Tampa, Fla.; Editing by David Gregorio and Matthew Lewis)

IMAGE: A same-sex marriage supporter holds a sign referring to Alabama’s Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore, during a protest outside the Jefferson County Courthouse in Birmingham, Alabama February 9, 2015.  REUTERS/Marvin Gentry

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Jeff Danziger lives in New York City. He is represented by CWS Syndicate and the Washington Post Writers Group. He is the recipient of the Herblock Prize and the Thomas Nast (Landau) Prize. He served in the US Army in Vietnam and was awarded the Bronze Star and the Air Medal. He has published eleven books of cartoons and one novel. Visit him at DanzigerCartoons.

Reps. Matt Gaetz, left, and Marjorie Taylor Greene on their "America First" tour.

Photo from Rep. Matt Gaetz's verified Twitter

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

At a time when Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia has jumped to his defense and joined forces with him for a fundraising tour. The far-right MAGA Republicans are both aggressive fundraisers, repeatedly stressing their unwavering devotion to former President Donald Trump. But according to Daily Beast reporter Roger Sollenberger, the Gaetz/Greene tour has "spent four times as much as" it has raised.

Keep reading... Show less
x

Close