Perennial Alabama statewide candidate and Senate frontrunner Roy Moore seems unaware of his ceaseless hypocrisy. He routinely calls for Congress and especially the judiciary (Moore is the twice-former Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court) to respect the Constitution and abide by its words and understood meaning. All politicians say this, of course, and most mean it. But Moore doesn’t and his hypocrisy lies in the fact that he twice had to leave his elected position for failing to follow federal law. Moore cannot simultaneously call for others to follow the Constitution’s word when he has long ignored it when doing so fit his purposes.
Just today, he released a statement on a federal judge blocking President Donald Trump’s transgender military ban, writing “Unless we return to faithful obedience to the Constitution and the separation of powers set therein, our form of government and our liberties will be in dire jeopardy.” He also called for the judge’s impeachment, a worrying precedent he would establish in the Senate: Impeaching a judge for decisions with which any individual senator disagrees.
The separation of powers is perhaps the fundamental philosophical underpinning of our Constitution. Powers do not overlap, but do constrain other branches of government (or other chambers within a single branch). This important innovation, made popular by Enlightenment writer Montesquieu, prevents any one branch from becoming too powerful and using that consolidated authority to encroach on the liberties of those from whom the Constitution’s power arise — the people.
Restraints also bound judicial power, something which irked Roy Moore during both of his briefs stints on the Alabama Supreme Court. The strength of Moore’s religious conviction and his anger towards a secular government that, through the First Amendment, enshrines the separation of church and state makes him a theocrat, one who wants to laws and government to align with and enforce the theological teachings of a particular religion (Moore’s religion).
At various points, he’s argued that the First Amendment doesn’t protect Muslims (it does), a Muslim congressman shouldn’t be seated because of his religion (again, wrong), hinted that homosexuality should be a capital crime, contended that the SCOTUS case which legalized same-sex marriage was worse than the case which condemned blacks to slavery, and referred to the Christian God as “the only source of our law, liberty and government.”
I’ll reiterate: Roy Moore thinks that God’s laws — or what some people in some religions consider to be God’s laws — trump the Constitution, a legal document borne from the consent of the governed. And he happily enforced that belief while on the bench.
Moore denied a lesbian custody of her children simply because of her sexual orientation, which he called “an inherent evil” that shouldn’t be tolerated. He used taxpayer dollars to erect a monument to the Ten Commandments in the Alabama state court house, which a federal judge found to violate the Constitution by endorsing a certain religion over others (and causing negative effects in the workplace). Moore refused to move the statute despite an order from a superior court. His refusal to follow principles of judicial hierarchy in place since the country’s inception simply because they conflicted with his firm religious belief that all should idolize the Ten Commandments resulted in his first removal from office.
After Alabama again elected Moore to the same post, he maintained his theological ways by ordering the Alabama judiciary to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell, which legalized same-sex marriage across the land. His decision, which clearly violated established constitutional law and the obvious letter of the Constitution, represented tyranny from the bench: Ignoring the rule of law, he tried to supplant the Supreme Court with his own opinion, despite its hateful belief that the state should not recognize all love equally simply because of the writings in an ancient text that has no governing power. Moore again had to leave the bench for his illegal behavior.
It’s hypocritical for the same man who spurned constitutional law and federal orders that triggered him for their secularization and non-conformity with his orthodox religious views to lecture others on respecting and following the Constitution. His actions denied the liberty of others — a workplace and government property free of religious endorsements and the ability to marry a loved partner and be treated as legitimate and equal in the eyes of the lie.
Roy Moore is a hypocrite whose theologic beliefs control his actions and will dictate how he governs all Americans. He is a threat to the Constitution and the republic.