Voting Roy Moore for Senate Insults the Rule of Law
Perpetual bigot and shocking ignoramus Roy Moore has again dipped his toes into Alabama politics after again being forced off the state’s supreme court. Unfortunately for the people of Alabama and those of the nation writ large, the Roy Moore for Senate campaign may be on its way to victory over establishment (and President Trump favored) candidate Luther Strange. But let’s be clear: Supporting Roy Moore for Senate means ignoring his history of ignoring law and acting as if being a justice somehow means he’s immune from following the laws he interpreted.
In 2000, Roy Moore, then a controversial circuit court justice, made his first bid for the Alabama supreme court. He ran on an avowedly theological platform, arguing the state needed “God [in] our public life [to] restore the moral foundation of our law.” As any legal scholar should be able to tell you, the Founding Fathers sought a strict separation of church and state, wholly and purposefully keeping God out of public life to maintain a truly secular Republic with moral foundations premised on the rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of property. His legal and historical shortcomings also transcended to social ignorance as Moore argued that Christianity’s declining influence “corresponded directly with school violence, homosexuality, and crime.”
Moore, despite his contempt for America’s legal foundation and bizarrely incorrect views of religion and its role in society, somehow won his race and proceeded to legislate from the bench, an affront the judiciary’s role in government and a malady conservatives have long claimed to despise. In D.H. vs. H.H., Moore wrote that the state should use a parent’s sexual orientation to be a deciding factor in refusing custody. Such a demand did not have precedent in state law, but when it came to potential rights for homosexual individuals, Moore abandoned conservative legal principles and instead, in this case and others, let his moral beliefs define his rulings, acting without regard to state law when it didn’t align with his religious teachings.
God First, Constitution Second
His allegiance stood only to religion, though a judge should value the law and the Constitution above all else. Shortly after his election, Moore made plans for a large Ten Commandments monument for the Alabama supreme court building, again pointedly ignoring the secular basis of our law and society. The 5,280 pound behemoth, once constructed, led Moore to declare “today a cry has gone out across our land for the acknowledgment of that God upon whom this nation and our laws were founded. … May this day mark the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people and the return to the knowledge of God in our land.” Rather than idolize the state’s constitution, the federal Constitution, or the laws created by man with no divine influence or interference, Moore spent public dollars to erect a testament to his religion and his beliefs, not necessarily those of his peers, state lawmakers, or the entirety of Alabama.
Unsurprisingly — self-evidently, really — his waste of public funds to install a religious monument on state property prompted a lawsuit claiming that the monument “sends a message to all who enter the State Judicial Building that the government encourages and endorses the practice of religion in general and Judeo-Christianity in particular.” The case, Glassroth v. Moore, presenting damning evidence about how the monument created an environment in which the government had endorsed a religion (a First Amendment violation). Lawyers of different religious beliefs notably changed their work practices to avoid the religious atmosphere and public prayer the government sanctioned via the monument.
Fealty to a Higher Power
Moore’s defense used not the Constitution, but some supported higher power to which Moore supposed we must all pledge fealty. He argued that the monument “serves to remind the Appellate Courts and judges of the Circuit and District Court of this State and members of the bar who appear before them, as well as the people of Alabama who visit the Alabama Judicial Building…that in order to establish justice we must invoke ‘the favor and guidance of almighty God.'” For, Moore claimed, the Ten Commanders are the “moral foundation” of our law and that the monument marked “the beginning of the restoration of the moral foundation of law to our people” by “recogniz[ing] the sovereignty of God
and “acknowledging God’s overruling power over the affairs of men.”
Of course, the Constitution does not claim divine guidance. It does not say that only through the grace of a higher being did the document originate. Our Constitution — the supreme law of the land — came not from a higher power but from the hearts, souls, and brains of the men present at the constitutional convention. The Constitution is of man and for man, with no loyalty or subservience to a supposed higher power. We are the sovereigns.
Removal from Office
US District Court Judge Myron Thompson declared the monument violated the Establishment Clause and the First Amendment, making it unconstitutional. Thompson found that Moore “installed a two-and-a-half ton monument in the most prominent place in a government building, managed with dollars from all state taxpayers, with the specific purpose and effect of establishing a permanent recognition of the ‘sovereignty of God,’ the Judeo-Christian God, over all citizens in this country, regardless of each taxpaying citizen’s individual personal beliefs or lack thereof. To this, the Establishment Clause says no.” He thus ordered Moore to remove the statue from public grounds (a circuit court agreed with Thompson’s findings).
Moore ignored the ruling, saying he would not remove the statue even though doing so would cost the citizens of Alabama $5,000 a day (the other state supreme court justices overruled Moore’s decision and moved the statue to a private location). Refusing to obey the court order from a US judge clearly shows Moore’s contempt for the rule of law. Because the monument so closely aligned with Moore’s religious beliefs and because the First Amendment prevented him from thrusting his beliefs on Alabama taxpayers, Moore decided that ultimate fealty should be paid to his deity, not to the Constitution he swore to uphold. Furthermore, Moore revealed that if his personal beliefs told him a superior judge’s ruling fell short, Moore could simply ignore the orders and act as if the law did not apply to him. He acted lawlessly and with clear disdain for court orders, our judicial system, and the US Constitution.
These actions prompted ethical complaints that culminated in Moore’s forced removal from office as his actions “undercut the entire workings of the judicial system…. What message does that send to the public, to other litigants? The message it sends is: If you don’t like a court order, you don’t have to follow it.” (He appealed the decision up the state supreme court, but his former peers ruled against him.)
State Supreme Court Justice, Part Two
A decade after his removal, Moore decided to again run for Chief Justice of the Alabama Supreme Court and, despite his earlier removal for lawless actions and clear contempt for the law when it means curtails his efforts to imperialize his beliefs, Alabamans once again elected him to the post.
Moore quickly showed that nothing had changed. He had learned nothing from his first removal from office. He hadn’t learned about American history or realized that in American law, we follow the Constitution, not an individual judge’s religion.
Roy Moore: Tyrant of the Bench
After a federal court legalized same-sex marriage across a handful of states, Moore refused to enforce the ruling despite falling below the federal court in the judicial hierarchy and illegally demanded state officials and judges to do the same. A year later, Moore continued his dereliction of duty by ordering Alabama court judges to ignore the Supreme Court’s ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges (which legalized same-sex marriage across the country)
The Alabama state supreme court could not overrule the federal court, let alone the US Supreme Court. Doing so ever so clearly violates the supremacy clause of the Constitution: “This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.” McCulloch v. Maryland further solidified the supremacy clause and underpins the entire American judicial setup.
A rogue justice cannot stand in the way of court orders regardless of his religious convictions. Doing so ignores and violates the Constitution and describes a tyrant of the bench.
Second Exit from Office
Later that year, the Alabama Judicial Inquiry Commission submitted a list of six charges of ethical violations by Moore to the Alabama Court of the Judiciary. With Moore suspended, the case proceeded and culminated in recommended removal from office for:
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for disregarding a federal injunction.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for demonstrated unwillingness to follow clear law.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for abuse of administrative authority.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for substituting his judgement for the judgement of the entire Alabama Supreme Court, including failure to abstain from public comment about a pending proceeding in his own court.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for interference with legal process and remedies in the United States District Court and/or Alabama Supreme Court related to proceedings in which Alabama probate judges were involved.
- Violation of the Alabama Canon of Judicial Ethics, for failure to recuse himself from pending proceedings in the Alabama Supreme Court after making public comment and placing his impartiality into question.
Various appeals again provided Moore not hope. The Alabama supreme court again upheld his term suspension. Rather than face a second forced removal from office, Roy Moore resigned from his position to run for Senate.
Roy Moore for Senate
Now, Moore easily won first place in the GOP Senate primary’s first round and has a strong chance to win the runoff and likely become Alabama’s next senator. Somehow, a number of Alabamans think it’s a good idea to vote Roy Moore for Senate despite his decidedly un-American attitudes. This is a disgrace to the state, the nation, and the rule of law.
Vote Roy Moore for Senate to elect a man whose experiences show such incredible contempt for the law and the Constitution. Moore, or an individual like him, shouldn’t ever be taken seriously or supported by a single soul. The Roy Moore for Senate campaign is not one based on American values. It’s based on Roy Moore’s values.
Moore doesn’t care about the Constitution. He doesn’t respect the rule of law. His one loyalty is to religion and, like the colonizers of old, Moore has an imperial attitude wherein his religious theories and beliefs must, at all costs, be thrust upon citizens either through judicial activism or, should the Roy Moore for Senate campaign be successful, intrusively moralistic laws that clearly do not align or follow the Constitution, as Moore should have learned in his two short stints as a justice.
Don’t support Roy Moore for Senate. Stand for the Constitution and our laws, not the religious delusions of a man inclined towards enforced religious tyranny.