Oh I do so love to start off the week with good news and it doesn’t get too much better than this …
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore is out of a job; again!
Last Friday, the Court of the Judiciary found that Good Old Roy was guilty of six ethics charges because of the way he instructed Alabama’s probate judges to ignore the Supreme Court’s Obergefell ruling that made same-sex marriage legal everywhere … even in Alabama. Moore will be suspended, without pay, for the next two years until the end of his term in January of 2019.
If you remember, Roy Moore is the same wingnut judge who was found guilty of similar ethics charges — I think that means he has no ethics — back in 2003 when he refused to comply with a federal court order requiring him to remove a Ten Commandments monument that he himself had installed in the state courthouse. The judges at that time removed him from his job entirely, but when he ran for office the people of Alabama — not the sharpest tools in the shed, apparently — voted him back to the bench.
Now, Moore was always an anti-marriage equality asshat, but the star that broke the camel’s back, and sent him home without any more coins, was an order he issued last January — six months after Obergefell became the law of the land — in which he said that “it is ordered and instructed” that Alabama probate judges “have a ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license” to a same-sex couples.
Yes, he ordered judges to violate the orders of the U.S. Supreme Court. Roy tried to pass off his violation of ethics as a “status update,” and that since the order said he was not providing any guidance on Obergefell, he wasn’t actually “ordering and directing” the probate judges to do anything.
Yeah, a word salad … but the panel rejected his arguments as not being “credible” and pointed out that he tried to make the exact same arguments back in 2003 about that Ten Commandments monument, when he said:
“I didn’t say I would defy the court order. I said I wouldn’t move the monument.”
But, you know, even a child understands that when someone says do something, and you don’t do it, you are defying them; Judge Roy Moore, er, former Judge Roy Moore, doesn’t have the wherewithal of a child. And so he tried to play that card again, saying he wasn’t defying the SCOTUS ruling, he just wasn’t gonna allowed gay folks the right to be married in Alabama.
I know it makes no sense, but then nothing this wingnut did made sense.
What is funny, though, is that the Court used the actions of Moore’s own lawyer against him in the case. See, Liberty Counsel chair Mat Staver — the loon who represented that other homophobe Kim Davis — sent out a mass email to Liberty Counsel followers on the very day the Judge Moore issued his “I ain’t gonna allow no queers to get married” order as proof that Moore was defying the courts. Now, Roy objected to the email being used, pointing out that Staver was his lawyer at that time, but the panel said that didn’t matter; the Staver email was the perfect example of a licensed attorney drawing the same incriminating conclusion that Moore was instructing the state’s probate judges to ignore a Supreme Court ruling:
“A judge does not issue a ‘status update’ that ‘orders and directs’ that a law remain in place. Rather, a judge ‘orders and directs’ individuals to do something: in this instance, to comply with law [Alabama’s now-unconstitutional constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage] that is in ‘full force and effect.’”
And so the panel concluded that Moore’s use of case law in the order was incomplete, misleading, and manipulative and said that the clear purpose of the order was to “order and direct the probate judges — most of whom have never been admitted to practice law in Alabama — to to stop complying with binding federal law until the Alabama Supreme Court decided what effect that federal law would have.”
And so Judge Roy Moore is out … no job, no pay, and he will have to pay the legal costs of the court proceeding. And the best news of all is that, when his suspension ends in January 2019, Judge Roy Moore will not be able to run again because of the state’s age limits.