Sus­pended Supreme Court chief jus­tice weigh­ing bid for state’s U.S. Se­nate seat

The Washington Times Daily - - POLITICS - BY ALEX SWOYER

Sus­pended Alabama Supreme Court Chief Jus­tice Roy Moore, whose was of­fi­cially ousted from the bench this week, is now con­sid­er­ing a bid for the state’s U.S. Se­nate seat, and promised to an­nounce a de­ci­sion next week.

Long a con­tro­ver­sial fig­ure, Chief Jus­tice Moore’s col­leagues on the high court voted Tues­day to up­hold his sus­pen­sion, find­ing he tried to thwart the U.S. Supreme Court’s 2015 rul­ing rec­og­niz­ing a na­tional right to same-sex mar­riage.

“This was a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated pros­e­cu­tion from the very be­gin­ning,” Chief Jus­tice Moore said af­ter a fi­nal rul­ing Tues­day by the other justices on the Supreme Court. “I’ve done my duty un­der the laws of this state to up­hold the sanc­tity of mar­riage and the un­de­ni­able truth that God or­dained mar­riage be­tween one man and one woman. Mere hu­man judges have no author­ity to say oth­er­wise.”

Now, he has his eye on the leg­isla­tive side of govern­ment, say­ing he’s eye­ing a bid to win the seat va­cated by for­mer Sen. Jeff Ses­sions, who left to be­come U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral.

Luther Strange, Alabama’s for­mer at­tor­ney gen­eral, was ap­pointed to the seat, but the gov­er­nor has called a spe­cial elec­tion in De­cem­ber to fill out the rest of the term.

“I will re­veal my fu­ture plans. I’ve got to talk to my fam­ily,” Chief Jus­tice Moore said dur­ing a press con­fer­ence on Wed­nes­day when asked if he’s con­sid­er­ing run­ning for gov­er­nor or the U.S. Se­nate.

He un­suc­cess­fully ran for gov­er­nor in the Repub­li­can pri­maries in both 2006 and 2010.

His sus­pen­sion does not pre­vent him from run­ning for sen­a­tor or gov­er­nor, but he is pro­hib­ited from seek­ing an­other judge’s post be­cause he would breach the state’s manda­tory re­tire­ment age.

This is the sec­ond time he’s been sus­pended as the state’s chief jus­tice.

He was pre­vi­ously sus­pended from his po­si­tion in 2003 af­ter re­fus­ing to re­move a mon­u­ment of the Ten Commandments from the state Supreme Court, de­spite a fed­eral or­der to do so. How­ever, he was re-elected to the po­si­tion in 2012.

Af­ter the U.S. Supreme Court’s same-sex rul­ing in 2015, Chief Jus­tice Moore sent a let­ter to then-Gov. Robert Bent­ley questioning whether the fed­eral de­ci­sion should trump Alabama’s own con­sti­tu­tional pro­hi­bi­tion on same-sex mar­riage. He then told the state’s pro­bate judges they would be vi­o­lat­ing their oaths if they is­sued same-sex mar­riage li­censes.

A ju­di­cial in­quiry com­mis­sion con­cluded that the chief jus­tice had vi­o­lated ethics rules and needed to be ousted, and the state Supreme Court up­held that rul­ing this week.

Chief Jus­tice Moore’s at­tor­ney Mat Staver, founder of Lib­erty Coun­sel, said the case “is a tragedy.”

“For the first time in the his­tory of Alabama, a jus­tice has been dis­ci­plined for is­su­ing an ad­min­is­tra­tive or­der. Un­der this sys­tem, no judge is safe to is­sue or­ders or ren­der dis­sents. The sys­tem has to change, and pol­i­tics should be re­moved from ju­di­cial de­ci­sion mak­ing and dis­ci­plinary ac­tions,” said Mr. Staver.

Mr. Staver said this de­ci­sion is the end of the road for his client who doesn’t wish to ap­peal to the na­tion’s high­est court.

“There’s a re­mote pos­si­bil­ity of ask­ing the U.S. Supreme Court to be in­volved,” Mr. Staver said. “In terms of the like­li­hood of the Supreme Court tak­ing the case like this, with it based purely on state law, is ex­cep­tion­ally re­mote.”

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sus­pended Alabama Chief Jus­tice Roy Moore promised to an­nounce a de­ci­sion next week on whether he will run for his state’s U.S. Se­nate seat va­cated by now U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions.

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