Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore filed a lawsuit against the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission (JIC) in May after the oversight body announced that it would pursue ethics charges against him and suspended him from the bench.
Moore, who is represented by Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver, argues that the JIC has no legal authority over him.
“We are asking the federal court to strike down the automatic removal provision in the Alabama State Constitution and we are asking that Chief Justice Moore be immediately reinstated,” Staver told the Associated Press.
The JIC said it levied the charges because Moore “knowingly ordered” the state’s probate judges to disregard the U.S. Supreme Court’s June 2015 marriage equality decision. Months after the ruling came down, Moore argued that the high court’s action did not overturn Alabama’s ban on same-sex marriage.
In a previous statement decrying the charges, Moore claimed that politics had motivated the JIC.
“The JIC has chosen to listen to people like Ambrosia Starling, a professed transvestite, and other gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals, as well as organizations which support their agenda,” Moore said. (Starling is an Alabama transgender rights activist.)
This is the second time the JIC has filed ethics charges against Moore. Moore was removed from office in 2003 after he refused to remove a granite Ten Commandments display from his courthouse. Voters re-elected Moore in 2012.