Sus­pended Jus­tice Moore runs for Se­nate

Anti-gay ju­rist a pro­po­nent of Trump’s poli­cies

The Washington Times Daily - - NATION -

MONT­GOMERY, ALA. | Sus­pended Alabama Chief Jus­tice Roy Moore, a vo­cal op­po­nent of same-sex mar­riage, an­nounced Wednesday he is run­ning for the U.S. Se­nate.

The fiery Repub­li­can ju­rist, who was sus­pended from the bench on ac­cu­sa­tions that he urged de­fi­ance of the land­mark U.S. Supreme Court de­ci­sion al­low­ing gays and les­bians to marry, said he will seek the Se­nate seat pre­vi­ously held by U.S. At­tor­ney Gen­eral Jeff Ses­sions. He made the an­nounce­ment in a news con­fer­ence on the steps of the Alabama Capi­tol.

Mr. Moore told sup­port­ers he be­lieves in the vision of Pres­i­dent Trump.

“We can make Amer­ica great again; we’ve got to make Amer­ica good again,” Mr. Moore said.

He charged that fam­i­lies are be­ing de­stroyed by di­vorce and the Supreme Court has de­stroyed the in­sti­tu­tion of mar­riage.

Mr. Moore made the an­nounce­ment sur­rounded by about two dozen sup­port­ers who waved Amer­i­can flags, a Chris­tian flag and signs from Mr. Moore’s past cam­paigns.

He is join­ing what’s ex­pected to be a crowded GOP pri­mary field in the Aug. 15 pri­mary.

Mr. Moore has twice won statewide elec­tions for chief jus­tice, and twice been re­moved from those du­ties by a ju­di­cial dis­ci­pline panel. His other elec­tion bids have fallen flat, in­clud­ing in 2010, when he fin­ished fourth in the Repub­li­can pri­mary can­di­date for gover­nor.

The U.S. Se­nate seat cur­rently is held by Luther Strange. He was ap­pointed by then-Gov. Robert Bent­ley, who re­signed this month amid fall­out from an al­leged af­fair with a top staffer.

Mr. Bent­ley had planned to hold the Se­nate elec­tion in 2018, but the state’s new gover­nor, Kay Ivey, moved it up to this year, set­ting off a stam­pede of con­tenders in what’s ex­pected to be a four-month de­mo­li­tion derby among Repub­li­cans, the dom­i­nat­ing po­lit­i­cal party in the state.

Mr. Moore, now 70, was a lit­tle-known judge in Etowah County in the 1990s un­til the Amer­i­can Civil Lib­er­ties Union un­suc­cess­fully sued him over a hand­made wooden Ten Com­mand­ment plaque he hung on his court­room wall. The fame helped cat­a­pult him to the of­fice of chief jus­tice in the 2000 elec­tion.

The Court of Ju­di­ciary, the panel that dis­ci­plines judges, re­moved Mr. Moore as chief jus­tice in 2003 af­ter he dis­obeyed a fed­eral judge’s or­der to re­move a boul­der-size Ten Com­mand­ments mon­u­ment that he in­stalled in the ro­tunda of the state ju­di­cial build­ing. He called the or­der un­law­ful, say­ing he had a right to “ac­knowl­edge God.” He was re-elected as chief jus­tice in 2012, a vic­tory he de­scribed as a vin­di­ca­tion.

Mr. Moore quickly found a new fight: same-sex mar­riage.

In a Jan. 6, 2016, memo to pro­bate judges, Mr. Moore wrote that a 2015 Alabama Supreme Court or­der to refuse mar­riage li­censes to gay cou­ples re­mained in “full force and ef­fect.”

His memo came six months af­ter the high­est court in the na­tion had ruled that gays and les­bians have a fun­da­men­tal right to marry.

The ju­di­ciary panel in Septem­ber sus­pended Mr. Moore for the re­main­der of his term, say­ing he had vi­o­lated ju­di­cial ethics by urg­ing pro­bate judges to refuse mar­riage li­censes to gay cou­ples.

Mr. Moore de­nied the charge of urg­ing de­fi­ance, and said he was only giv­ing a sta­tus up­date on the 2015 state or­der. How­ever, he also called his ouster a po­lit­i­cally mo­ti­vated ef­fort from “ho­mo­sex­ual and trans­gen­der groups” be­cause of his opposition to gay mar­riage.

Mr. Moore has been a di­vi­sive fig­ure in­side and out­side of Alabama. He en­joys a loyal fol­low­ing of so­cial con­ser­va­tives but also has butted heads with some in the state GOP’s busi­ness wing.

“The peo­ple of Alabama have watched Judge Moore, time and again, stand up to the fed­eral courts and de­fend the godly prin­ci­ples that have made this na­tion great. … Alabama will be­come ‘ground zero’ in the po­lit­i­cal and cul­tural war,” Dean Young, a long­time Mr. Moore sup­porter, told The As­so­ci­ated Press ahead of the an­nounce­ment.

AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Sus­pended Alabama Chief Jus­tice Roy Moore an­nounced his plan to run for U.S. Se­nate in Mont­gomery on Wednesday. Mr. Moore strongly backs Pres­i­dent Trump.

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