An organization formed by supporters of ousted Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore is seeking to take over the state's Republican Party.
The League of Christian Voters, formed by Montgomery attorney Jim Zeigler, has endorsed a slate of candidates in the hope of winning a majority of the 48 Alabama delegate seats to the Republican National Convention.
Zeigler's group announced its endorsement of the potential delegates in March. According to an Associated Press report, the League "is endorsing candidates who it believes will support a suggested plank to the Republican platform. That plank would endorse proposed federal legislation to prohibit federal judges from hearing cases involving acknowledgements of God."
The group endorsed 25 delegate candidates who agreed to back the platform plank.
"This is an attempt to put the Republican Party nationally in favor of that proposal," Zeigler told the Associated Press.
In February, the group sparked controversy when it announced it would screen candidates for state judge positions. Zeigler said the organization would use a 10-point questionnaire asking for details about each potential judge's religious beliefs. Among the questions are: "Are you a born-again Christian? Please give your testimony," "In what church or other Christian ministries are you active? What are your areas of service in each?" and "Would you describe yourself as a conservative Christian? What actions have you taken on conservative issues?"
Through a spokeswoman, Moore said he is not involved in the movement, but he endorsed the idea of removing the federal court's ability to hear challenges to government-sponsored Ten Commandments displays.
Moore spent years battling the federal courts to keep his display of the Decalogue inside the rotunda of the Montgomery Judicial Building. The 11th U.S. Circuit of Appeals ruled that his display of the Commandments monument violated separation of church and state. Moore then refused to abide a federal court order to remove the monument, which cost him his job. Last November, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Moore's appeal of the federal court's rulings.
Meanwhile, speculation continues that Moore might have his eyes on elective office. Moore's name has been bandied about as a potential presidential candidate for the far-right Constitution Party. In addition, Southern Political Report recently reported that Moore is interested in challenging Alabama Gov. Bob Riley (R) in 2006.
Several Moore allies are also running for office this year. Phillip Jauregui, a Moore attorney, is challenging U.S. Rep. Spencer Bachus in the June 1 Republican primary. Moore has endorsed Jauregui, but political analysts say Bachus, a conservative and popular six-term incumbent, looks tough to beat.
Tom Parker, who served as Moore's spokesman during Americans United's legal challenge to the Commandments display, is running for a seat on the state Supreme Court against incumbent Jean Brown. Another Moore attorney, Win Johnson, is challenging Civil Appeals Judge Sharon Yates, a Democrat.
Observed Southern Political Report, "If Jauregui, et. al., are able to co-opt Moore's popularity among Christian conservatives and win their races, Moore's influence in Alabama politics and perhaps nationally is sure to grow."
In other news about Moore:
The Alabama Senate in late March approved a state constitutional amendment that would allow the government to display the Ten Commandments in public buildings in any manner it sees fit.
The proposed amendment to Alabama's Constitution declares that, "Property belonging to the state may be used to display the Ten Commandments, and the right of a public school and public body to display the Ten Commandments on property owned or administered by a public school or public body in this state is not restrained or abridged."
The amendment must be approved by the state's House of Representatives before it can be placed before voters.