Cartoon: J.D. Crowe on AL.com
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Judge Roy Moore, the Chief Justice of Alabama, has taken a stand on Gay Marriage in his state that is in opposition to the Federal Supreme Court, which is leaning towards striking down all state bans on same sex marriage in our country.
Moore is such an ancient bigoted fossil that he (A) Keeps doubling down on his untenable position and (B) doesn't realize what a fool he is making of himself. However, it's quite a satisfying spectacle to watch unfold. :)
Even in Alabama, Moore is considered an extremist. In 2003, he was removed from the same Chief Justice post for putting up a copy of the Ten Commandments in his office.
MONTGOMERY, Alabama (CNN) -- Alabama's judicial ethics panel removed Chief Justice Roy Moore from office Thursday for defying a federal judge's order to move a Ten Commandments monument from the state Supreme Court building.
The nine-member Court of the Judiciary issued its unanimous decision after a one-day trial Wednesday.
The panel, which includes judges, lawyers and non-lawyers, could have reprimanded Moore, continued his suspension or cleared him.
The ethics panel said Moore put himself above the law by "willfully and publicly" flouting the order to remove the 2.6-ton monument from the state judicial building's rotunda in August.
U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson ruled the granite carving was an unconstitutional endorsement of religion. Moore refused to obey the order but was overruled by his eight colleagues on the state Supreme Court. (Full story)
On November 3, the U.S. Supreme Court refused to hear Moore's appeal of Thompson's ruling. (Full story)
Moore "showed no signs of contrition for his actions," the Court of the Judiciary found.
Unfortunately, the Tea Party voters of Alabama returned him to his post:
From New York Times
He ran for governor twice, and failed, but in 2012, he shocked the political establishment with his re-election to the state’s high court, cashing in on name recognition and Alabama’s widespread Christian sentiment and skeptical stance toward federal government power.
“If you look at the professional class in Alabama, most of them would say they’d wish he’d just quit this foolishness and let Alabama move along with the rest of the country,” said Glen Browder, professor emeritus in American democracy at Jacksonville State University and a former Democratic congressman from Alabama. “But he’s popular in the church crowd.”
Chief Justice Moore’s office is decorated with a wooden plaque of the commandments, along with a portrait of George Washington and a photograph of Jefferson Davis, the president of the Confederacy. (Chief Justice Moore said that he has never been a segregationist, but that has no qualms about making arguments in favor of states’ rights when they are warranted.)
The Gospel According to Roy http://t.co/w2AMRIzc5H #RoyMoore #LGBT pic.twitter.com/ze4zEFYFgC
— SPLC (@splcenter) February 12, 2015
Yesterday he pointed out that he has Gay Friends. Yes, he really said that, with no apparent irony. So yeah, if he has homosexual friends, then there's no problem that he tried to halt gay marriage in Alabama, right?
Via Talking Points Memo
"I've had many friends who are homosexual," Moore said during an interview with John Heilemann and Mark Halperin of Bloomberg Politics. "I've treated people just like other people. This is not about how I treat people, or how I go to a wedding or a marriage or anything. It's about the constitution of Alabama and the Constitution of the United States."
"You wouldn't be reluctant, personally, to go to a same-sex wedding, then?" Halperin prodded.
"I would not go to a same-sex wedding," Moore responded. "No."
Alabama Chief Justice Roy Moore: I Have 'Many Friends Who Are Homosexual' http://t.co/qGwmpLnO30 And a Black friend:) pic.twitter.com/WkVRDe3M0d
— R Joseph (@rjoseph7777) February 12, 2015
Roy Moore met his gay friend while jousting at windmills; don't tell him the friend is actually a tree
— Robert (@robert_s_sparks) February 11, 2015
Dollars to donuts Roy Moore and Mike Huckabee have the same gay friend. http://t.co/chcO2dLfF2 (and, in my heart, it's Bruce Vilanch)
— Adam Smith (@asmith83) February 12, 2015
Amazing showdown on CNN with Chris Cuomo today:
CNN Transcript 2-12-2015, Chris Cuomo and Judge Roy Moore
CUOMO: . . . I understand what you're trying to do here, you're trying to defeat the federal law. The question is, why?
MOORE: No, I'm not trying to defeat the federal law. There is no federal law and that's the point. No judge in the United States or federal district court has the right to invent the definition of marriage, which is not even contained in the United States Constitution. And that's the problem. We have people going in trying to mandate to the state of Alabama that the sanctity of marriage amendment in our Constitution is wrong, and that's simply not right to do.
CUOMO: Well -- well, it certainly is right. That's how this works, right, is that the federal law says that a state law is discriminatory and they change it. And certainly the distinction you're trying to draw with the district court, you don't have an independent case in front of you, your honor, about your own marriage law. This is about gay marriage in general and the equality in general and that's why the district court's able to say it. But again, you're right, we shouldn't get into the thickets.
I would suggest something else looking at your letter that you wrote to the governor of Alabama. For you, marriage is about the divine institution. It's as true as your words and as the pin on your lapel. You want to say that God says marriage is a certain thing and you don't want to hear anything else about what a definition of marriage could be. Is that a fair suggestion?
MOORE: No, that's not a fair suggestion. I go by the law. Of course I believe marriage was defined by God, but so does the United States Supreme Court. In the case of Murphy versus Ramsey, they said that marriage and family are the basis from the holy union of one man and one woman in the state of matrimony. That was clearly the United States Supreme Court opinion. It's been the court of opinions in state courts across this country. And especially in Alabama, we've recognized it as a divine institution in our law. Naturally it existed hundreds and even thousands of years before the United States even came into existence.
CUOMO: Right, but we are a nation of laws and not just God's law. And what your state did in 2006 was what many did, which was, you tried to define marriage to exclude. And what happened in U.S. v. Windsor, the case that is on everybody's lips now because it changed it, is that those laws that define marriage as only between a man and a woman are unfair and fail the test of equal protection. You know that. You know that when they meet this spring many people believe the Supreme Court will affirm this and say that state laws and constitutional provisions like your own are unfair. The question is, why won't you accept that definition of marriage?
MOORE: First, when the Supreme Court meets, I believe state's rights is going to be a big part of this. And I don't believe they have the right to push upon the state a definition which this state does not recognize, indeed, which the United States Constitution does not recognize. In fact, in Loving versus Virginia in 1967, when they declared that interracial marriages could not be prohibited, correctly so, they referenced marriage as the right of free men and women to enter into pursuit of happiness. They quoted basically out of the Declaration of Independence which said that God gave us these rights. We hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal and endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights and among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. They're unalienable because they can't be taken away and they can't be mandated on the state in this instance.
CUOMO: Of course they can, though, your honor. That's what happens. It used to be legal to have slaves. Your state had a lot of laws on the books, like other states, where times changed and those laws had to change. And this is another example of that.
MOORE: You know slavery -- slavery was wrong and in 1857, when the Supreme Court of the United States declared in Dred Scott that black people could be property, one justice dissented. He said that when a strict interpretation of the Constitution, according to the fixed rules which govern the interpretation of laws is abandoned, the theoretical opinions of individuals are allowed to control its meaning, we have no longer a Constitution. We're under a government of individual men who, for the time being, have the power to declare what the Constitution is according to their own views of what they think it ought to mean. Those words by Benjamin Curtis are exactly what's going on in the United States Supreme Court and the federal courts of this state -- of this nation today.
CUOMO: And just as they were --
MOORE: And the United States Supreme Court hadn't ruled on this issue.
CUOMO: And they will. But they have ruled on what the substance of it is. And you've had a federal court tell you to marry people and you're not. And I would suggest that, based on what we're hearing right now, your refusal goes to what you believe marriage is about and not just to the law.
. . . MOORE: Nobody's arguing about racial discrimination in this case. This is not about racial discrimination.
CUOMO: It's about discrimination.
MOORE: It's about sexual -- it's about sexual preference.
CUOMO: It's about discrimination.
MOORE: Being -- overcoming an institution which has existed in our state, in our United States, for centuries. And I think it's wrong.
CUOMO: But it's about discrimination. In 2006, you created a constitutional amendment that, by design, discriminated against gay people. And now you are being told by the federal law that is wrong.
MOORE: Again -- again -- again, that is a constitutional amendment to the Alabama constitution, and it's clearly within the bounds of state law and federal law. Again, there is nothing in the constitution about marriage. How can judges go in and define a word? They're doing exactly what they did in 1857 in Dred Scott.-
CUOMO: They just did it in U.S. v. Windsor. They just looked at the Defense of Marriage Act and said you cannot define marriage as just between a man and woman.
MOORE: That was between Congress. It did not affect the state, according to the ruling in Windsor.
CUOMO: But you can't say that the Court hasn't spoken about it. It was the exact same issue. It just wasn't a state law and that's why we're having the next case in June --
MOORE: I can say the Court -- I can say the Court spoke about it, because they said this does not apply to the state. It applies to the federal law passed by Congress.
CUOMO: That's right, because of the specific issue before them. And now they're meeting again in June. And if June comes and they hold the same way, then what will you do?
MOORE: Then I will do what the Court should -- or what the Court should have done under Dred Scott. If it's an unlawful mandate, you don't have to recognize it. You can recuse from the case.
CUOMO: So you still --
MOORE: You can dissent. You can dissent to the United States Supreme Court, just like you can dissent to anything else.
. . . CUOMO: State by state, the rulings all going the same way. State by state, they're all going the same way
MOORE: You can't say the law -- you can't say what the law is with the United States Courts of Appeals differ on this very issue.
CUOMO: And you can't say that even if the Supreme Court rules against your personal position, you won't follow it because it offends your faith. You can't do that as Chief Justice.
MOORE: I said I would not -- I would not oppose the law except with an opinion or a dissent. That's what I said.
CUOMO; No, I asked you would you follow it.
MOORE: I did not say I would not recognize the law.
CUOMO: I asked you if you would follow it and you went into a word salad about whether I would follow it.
MOORE: And I asked you if you would follow Plessy versus Ferguson.
CUOMO: I am not the Chief Justice.
MOORE: Well, you can't answer the question either.
CUOMO: You answer it first. Will you follow it if they decide in June that gay marriage is equal protection.
MOORE: I will recognize -- I will recognize the United States Supreme Court opinion is binding over the state courts. Me, personally, I will make that decision when it comes, sir.