Alabama’s Chief Justice of the Supreme Court has been suspended for the rest of his term, effective immediately, as a result of his defiance of the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark ruling on same-sex marriage. Since he will be too old to run for the next term, this decision effectively means his stint with the court is over for good.
Chief Justice Roy Moore was suspended by Alabama’s Court of the Judiciary, who found that he had violated judicial ethics in January when he ordered the state’s sixty-eight probate judges to defy the SCOTUS ruling that made marriage equality the law of the land. Moore was found guilty of all six charges against him and has been suspended without pay. He has also been ordered to pay the cost of the proceeding.
When the case began earlier in the week, NPR had this to say:
Moore forced the debate last year when he issued orders in conflict with a Mobile, Ala., federal judge’s ruling that struck down the state’s ban on same-sex marriage. Here’s what he told NPR at the time:
‘If we sit back and let the federal courts intrude their powers into state sovereignty, then we’re neglecting everything about which the Constitution stands,’ Moore said.
The result was confusion in marriage license offices throughout Alabama. Some closed down altogether. Even after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed marriage equality, Moore told local judges that they had a ‘ministerial duty not to issue any marriage license contrary to’ state laws forbidding same-sex marriage.
Because the judicial ethics court lacked the unanimous support required to remove Moore from office outright, they opted to suspend him for the rest of his term, which ends in 2019. Since Alabama law prevents anyone over 70 from running for a position on the court and Moore will be above this age limit when his term is up, his time serving on the state’s supreme court is essentially over.
This isn’t the first time Moore has been booted from the bench. In 2003, his prior term on the Alabama Supreme Court was cut short when he was removed from office after refusing the order of a federal court mandating the removal of a Ten Commandments display from the state judicial building. He was elected again by Alabama voters in 2012.
The Liberty Counsel is appealing the decision with the Alabama Supreme Court.
Featured image via Right Wing Watch