Off The Bench: A Disgraceful End For A Disgraceful Judge

As noted elsewhere in this issue, Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice Roy Moore has been suspended without pay from that court, an action that has the effect of removing him for good from the state judiciary.

Moore had previously been removed from the court in 2003 for defying a federal court order to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the Judicial Building in Montgomery. This time, he attempted to defy a federal court ruling making marriage equality legal in Alabama.

In 1997, Moore had urged state and local officials to ignore a federal court ruling striking down coercive religious practices in public schools.

You may sense a pattern here. Throughout his career, Moore has argued that the rulings of federal courts are not binding on Alabama. Of course, this is nonsense. It’s nothing more than a modern version of the “states’ rights” arguments employed prior to the Civil War. They didn’t work then, and they haven’t improved with age.

What’s especially exasperating about Moore is that he lacks all sense of personal responsibility. Even first-year law students understand the ability of federal courts to nullify state laws if those laws are deemed to be in conflict with the federal Constitution. Moore’s daft legal theories were nurtured in the fever swamps of the far right. Anyone with a lick of sense should have known they would never be taken seriously.

Yet Moore pressed on. He did so knowing that he didn’t have a serious legal argument to make. He surely knew his actions would draw ethics complaints, which they did. He must have known he’d have to face the consequences of his actions.

The last time Moore lost his job, he made the circuit of Religious Right groups peddling his tale of woe. Some deluded people seemed to believe he was a hero.

Moore’s no hero. He’s a fundamentalist zealot who tried to use the courts to enforce his misguided notions of “biblical law.” It didn’t work, and the people of Alabama are now shed of him.

Good riddance.