Embattled former Alabama Supreme Court Justice Roy Moore in late April announced his resignation from the bench and his plan to run for the U.S. Senate instead.
Moore, a Republican, had been suspended from his job as chief justice since Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary determined he had violated judicial ethics when he told the state’s probate judges in January 2016 to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court ruling granting marriage equality and to instead uphold Alabama’s nullified ban on marriage for same-sex couples. A special panel of judges sitting as the Alabama Supreme Court upheld Moore’s suspension in April.
A week later, Moore resigned and announced he would instead run for the U.S. Senate seat that had been vacated by Jeff Sessions when Sessions was appointed U.S. attorney general by President Donald J. Trump.
“I’ll stand for the rights and liberties of the people,” Moore said during his campaign announcement at the State Capitol, according to the Alabama news website AL.com. “My position has always been God first, family then country. I share the vision of President Donald Trump to make America great again.”
Former Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley, who himself recently resigned amidst a sex scandal, appointed the state’s attorney general, Luther Strange, to fill Sessions’ seat until a special election can be held later this year.
Strange also has announced plans to run for the seat. He and Moore will join a Republican field that so far includes state Rep. Ed Henry and Dr. Randy Brinson, president of the Christian Coalition of Alabama, according to AL.com.
Ignoring federal law on LGBTQ rights was not the first time Moore found himself in trouble while serving as Alabama’s Supreme Court chief justice.
In 2001, Moore was sued by Americans United and allies when he erected a two-ton Ten Commandments monument at the Judicial Building in Montgomery. A federal court ordered the religious structure to be removed. Moore openly defied the court and refused, resulting in his first removal from the state’s high court.
After twice unsuccessfully running for governor, Moore was re-elected as chief justice in 2012 and held the seat until he was suspended again last year.