September 2016 Church & State - September 2016

Alabama Chief Justice To Face Trial Again On Ethics Charges

  AU admin

Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore will go on trial this month on charges that he violated judicial ethics.

The Alabama Court of the Judiciary, a state oversight body, issued a brief order last month denying Moore’s request to dismiss the charges against him. His trial is scheduled for Sept. 28, reported the news site

Moore stands accused of attempting to interfere with federal court rulings favoring marriage equality. After a federal judge struck down an Alabama law barring same-sex marriage in 2014, Moore sent a letter to Alabama Gov. Robert Bentley (R) questioning the authority of the federal courts to nullify Alabama laws. (Americans United represented several plaintiffs in the Alabama marriage equality case, Strawser v. Strange.)

Six months after the U.S. Sup­reme Court extended marriage equality nationwide in June of 2015, Moore issued an “administrative order” to probate judges in the state insisting that marriage equality was still not legal in Alabama. The order was clearly designed to dissuade the judges from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

A number of individuals filed complaints against Moore, and the state’s Judicial Inquiry Commission began investigating the matter.

If Moore is removed from the bench, it will be the second time that has happened. He was kicked off the court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Judicial Building in Montgomery. Americans United, the American Civil Liberties Union and the Southern Poverty Law Center sued Moore over that display in 2000.

Moore is being defended by Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, a Religious Right legal group.

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